Seanad Éireann



Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price) (Amendment) Bill, 1952—First Stage.

Garda Síchána Pensions Order, 1951—Motion of Approval.

Undeveloped Areas Bill, 1951—Committee Stage.

[483] Do chuaigh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Leave given to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Milk (Regulation of Supply and Price) Acts, 1936 and 1941—(Senator Quirke).

An Cathaoirleach:  Second Stage?

Mr. Quirke:  I understand that it has been more or less agreed that the Second and remaining Stages will be taken on Wednesday the 30th instant.

Professor Hayes:  I understood that the arrangement was that the Second Stage would be taken on January 30th. We are agreeing wholeheartedly to that.

Mr. Quirke:  I thought that when it was agreed to take the Second Stage on January 30th, the remaining Stages might also be taken on that day, seeing that it is a more or less non-contentious measure. However, in case anybody should get a brainwave after the Second Reading, I would merely ask that the Second Stage be taken on January 30th.

Second Stage ordered for Wednesday, January 30th.

Mr. Quirke:  I move:—

That the Seanad hereby approves of the Garda Síochána Pensions Order, 1951, made on the 29th day of December, 1951, by the Minister for Justice, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, under Section 13 of the Police Forces Amalgamation Act, 1925, and laid before the Seanad on the 5th January, 1952.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland):  Senators will have received a memorandum [484] dealing with this Order and I think it explains the effects of the various provisions. As Senators will see, the main purpose of the Order is to provide for the Garda a lump sum pension scheme analogous to that applicable to civil servants, teachers and officials of local authorities. Those members at present in the force who opt for the new scheme, and all future entrants will, on retirement on pension, receive as well as a pension a lump sum based on their years of service and on their annual pay, subject to a maximum lump sum payment of one and a half years' salary. Likewise, the widow of a member who dies after a service of more than five years will be entitled to receive, as well as her pension, a death gratuity which will not be less than the member's annual pay at the time of his death. If the member be unmarried or a widower, the gratuity will be payable to the legal personal representatives of the deceased. The present pensions scheme provided for a payment of one-sixtieth of the annual salary for each year's service up to 20 years and then for an extra sixtieth for any year after 20 years' service.

The Order also provides for a number of miscellaneous amendments of earlier pensions Orders. These amendments have been dealt with in the explanatory memorandum and are minor in character. I think they will be quite clear to Senators. I should say that the new pensions scheme has been brought forward at the request of the Representative Body. They were anxious that the pensions scheme for the Garda should be the same as that for other State servants.

Professor Hayes:  We are in complete agreement that this pensions Order should be approved but we got the Order only this morning. The Minister said, in his own gentle fashion, that Senators “of course had got the memorandum.” Senators have got the memorandum but they have not read the memorandum and have not had an opportunity of studying it. As usual, of course, this is an Order which can only be read by reference to other documents.

[485] I take it that this particular scheme has been going to and fro between the Department of Justice and the Department of Finance for years. Then the Seanad gets it on a Wednesday morning and it is supposed to become law that afternoon. Senator Quirke established an all-time record to-day by suggesting that we should pass through all its stages a Bill which has not yet come before the House. This proposal is not quite as bad as that but it is of the same order.

I do not want to object to the passing of this Order nor do I want to stand between the members of the Garda and any improvement in their pensions schemes. I am entirely in agreement with the proposal to pay a lump sum on retirement. I think that is a perfectly sound provision and I am glad that it is being proposed but I should like, as a parliamentarian, to protest against the manner in which it is sought to rush it through this House. Civil servants have been considering this proposal for years but we do not even get an afternoon to consider it.

Mr. Quirke:  I think that it is quite unreasonable to suggest that Senators had not got the memorandum because the memorandum was issued this morning. If it were the Dáil it would not be quite the same. I saw a number of Senators very busy at political meetings but otherwise they would have had plenty of time to read it and I am sure that everybody has read it.

Mr. Baxter:  Did you read it yourself?

Mr. O'Higgins:  The Minister mentioned in the course of his remarks that the scheme had been introduced at the request of the Representative Body. It would clear my mind if the Minister would say whether the scheme meets the wishes of the Representative Body.

Mr. Boland:  I may say that substantially it does. They were consulted before the thing was decided at all. They were entitled to be consulted.

With regard to the point raised by Senator Hayes, I appreciate what he said. As a rule a matter like this would [486] be introduced in the other House but we wanted it to become operative as soon as possible. The Dáil will not meet until the end of the month and the Seanad will not meet for some time after the Bill which they are going to consider now has been dealt with. It would not be fair to Senators to ask them to meet for this Order alone which has been found acceptable to the Guards and is non-contentious. Otherwise I would agree with the point to be made and I would not bring in an Order of this kind if I had not such a reason for doing it.

Mr. Douglas:  I am strongly in favour of making permanent in the Order which is introduced a gratuity and pension with an option. It is a great improvement, I think. Although I did read through the memorandum I was not able to check the other references but it is very doubtful whether I would be able to check them anyway.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  Could we not leave it until this day week?

Mr. Boland:  Personally, I do not mind at all, but I understood that it was not expected.

Mr. Douglas:  We should be given some little time, a week at least, because this was only put in our hands some little time ago.

Mr. Colgan:  This is not the first time that we got something in the morning and were asked to pass it in the evening.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  We could read it by next time.

Mr. Quirke:  I suggest that the result will be the same in any case. We have no power to rule it out.

Mr. O'Higgins:  That is another argument.

Mr. Baxter:  The Department of Finance might take it back if we did not pass it quickly.

Professor Hayes:  I agree that there is nothing we can do about this particular Order but the Minister did not [487] know when he was endeavouring to get this passed that we would be meeting on the 30th as we only decided just now, for the benefit of the Minister for Agriculture, to meet on the 30th. So the Minister might be agreeable to wait.

Mr. Boland:  Sure.

Professor Hayes:  I do not know if my friends would be agreeable to do that. The fact that we have been sinning constantly is no reason why we should sin again. We should reform.

Mr. Colgan:  Let us sin for to-day and then decide to sin no longer.

Mr. Baxter:  And begin the new year well.

Mr. O'Donnell:  To postpone this Order would mean a penalty with regard to money. It would penalise people.

Professor Hayes:  It would not, because it has to pass both Houses.

Mr. Boland:  It cannot become operative until the Dáil passes it. If the Seanad meets on the same day as the Dáil I dare say that I could get it first thing and then come up here. I am not going to press it.

Mr. Colgan:  Is there any point in not passing it? If we do not pass it to-day we are deciding, just in order to stand on our dignity, to wait until the 30th. I agree that not to give us an opportunity of studying matters is bad, but I suggest that we get many things into our hands in that way. Often we cannot complain that we have not had time to study things but still we do complain. I do not see any purpose in postponing this Order until the 30th because I do not see that any alteration is likely to be made in it. If it is a question of standing on our dignity let us decide that in future we will not have this, but over the years all Governments have been to blame in this matter. There is no purpose in standing on our dignity and saying that we will not pass it until the 30th.

Mr. O'Higgins:  We do not know [488] whether there will be any objection until we have had an opportunity of studying the matter. I understand from the Minister that it will not become operative until the Dáil meets, so no one will suffer if we postpone it in order to give the Seanad an opportunity of reading it.

Mr. Boland:  You cannot amend it. It is not as if it were a Bill which you could amend. It is a question either of accepting or rejecting it. If you reject it that is another day's work. That may have some effect.

Mr. Douglas:  We might persuade the Minister to withdraw it and bring in a better one.

Mr. Baxter:  That is not likely.

Mr. Quirke:  I think that the Minister is being very reasonable.

Professor Hayes:  Yes. We are all being reasonable. Put it off until 30th January and there will not be a word about it—perhaps.

Mr. Boland:  I am perfectly satisfied. If it were going to keep the Guards out of their money I would press it.

Debate adjourned until Wednesday, January 30th, 1952.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.


Mr. Baxter:  I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1) before paragraph (b) to insert the following paragraph:—

() any area adjoining or contiguous to a congested area to which by Order of the Minister following the request of a representative local committee, the Act is for the time being declared to apply.

I have put this amendment on the Order Paper in order to elicit from the Minister the procedure which he proposes to adopt with regard to the making of an Order under this Bill. I [489] have been trying to figure out exactly how this will operate and I confess that I am not quite clear about it. The Minister can make an Order declaring that any area which he decides upon will come within the meaning of the Act, but I do not know who is going to take the initiative. Will the Minister get a brainwave himself and make an Order that this law shall apply to a particular district? Will he await the coming of some potential promoters from a district and see first what the proposition which the promoters are putting before this body is likely to be and what the worth of it is? How exactly is this Order to come into existence? I should like to see this Bill a success. I hope it will be. I think it should be the object of everyone interested in what is being endeavoured to be achieved under this Bill to make what contribution he can towards making the Bill of value when it becomes an Act.

With regard to its application to any particular district, I have got the feeling that individuals in backward districts in the undeveloped areas will be rather hesitant about taking steps for the establishment of an industry in a locality. They have not much information about what can be done. There may not be any raw materials in the locality which can be exploited and the people may not have any contacts who can inform them as to what the possibilities are of getting assistance of a technical character or otherwise. Even if you have one or two enthusiastic individuals in one of these rather remote areas who will come along and endeavour to get information, they are casting their bread on the waters. They may go a considerable distance without any knowledge as to whether or not the Act is going to apply to their particular district.

My view is that if you are going to get anything done under this Bill, you must have local initiative. You must have local interest and there must be unanimity amongst the people in a district—at least a considerable degree of unanimity—if any good is to come from any Act. A few people may try [490] to establish an industry. A couple of people might come to the Minister and ask him to make an Order about which he may be hesitant because he has not very much evidence of what possibilities there are in the district. I am putting down the proposition that where the people in a district get together—what I have called a representative local committee—and make a request to the Minister, the Minister will then make an Order. If you have a situation where a particular district is scheduled as one which will get support under this Bill—a district outside the congested districts—right from the start you have the advantage that the people in that district and the potential promoters of the industry will know that they are going to get assistance.

This will mean that you will have a certain amount of confidence and, perhaps, enthusiasm behind any effort which is being made locally. If, on the other hand, people outside the congested areas have no security and no knowledge that they will come within the terms of this Bill, even though industrial possibilities may be reasonably bright, their enthusiasm will be dampened. In those circumstances, you will have a situation where the people will be doubtful and sceptical about taking any risks.

I should like the Minister to tell us, having regard to the present position, how he proposes, having made an Order, that Order can be put into operation? The matter to me at the moment is not quite clear. I can imagine very well that you could have the Order made to apply to a district under certain conditions and you might not have it applied to another district and the district where it would not be applied might be more suitable, for a variety of reasons, than the other. We are going to have a lack of balance in this whole effort. I do not know whether the Minister regards this amendment as necessary at all. I know he can argue that he can already do what my amendment proposes but I am trying to give a status to local representation and I think that is very important for the success of the Bill.

[491]Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Lemass):  It is not very easy to reply categorically to Senator Baxter's query as to how it is likely that the powers conferred upon the Minister under this section will be used. The idea in framing the section, as I have explained already, was to make it clear that the Bill was intended to apply primarily to the congested areas, while, at the same time, avoid having such an unalterable definition of “congested areas” that it would automatically and completely exclude consideration of a proposition from a contiguous area. I think it is likely that the powers conferred on the Minister under this section will be used when somebody puts up a proposition for industrial development in one or other of those areas or where, on the examination of such a proposition in the Department of Industry and Commerce, it becomes clear that it would be more successful if established in one of those contiguous areas than in one of the counties named in the Bill.

I think, though, that Senator Baxter misunderstands the position slightly in respect of an industrial proposition proposed to be established in one of those counties. There is no certainty that any help at all will be given. That is a matter for decision by Foras Tionscal when the proposal is put to it. The mere making of a ministerial Order extending the Bill to a particular area in Cavan, Longford or somewhere else would not necessarily mean that a particular proposition for any one of these areas would secure approval or help from Foras Tionscal. The only effect of a ministerial Order is to permit Foras Tionscal to consider a proposal. While I should not like to exclude completely the possibility of an Order of that kind being made on the representations of a local committee, even though there was no definite industrial proposition in mind, I think it is far more likely to be done, if it is to be done at all, when there is some proposition under consideration and it becomes obvious, from the examination of that proposition, that there are reasons why an industry might be located in West Cavan instead of Leitrim or in West Limerick instead of [492] North Kerry—reasons which would justify the making of the Order and the submitting of proposals to Foras Tionscal for examination.

I do not want to suggest that that is the only way in which an Order of this kind would come to be made. I think it is quite possible that a Minister for Industry and Commerce would come to the opinion that in respect of any of these areas mentioned contiguous to the congested areas he might be induced by consideration of the industrial possibilities of the area to make an Order even though nobody was definitely interested in any project. In my own view, an Order is far more likely to be made when there is an industrial proposition in sight.

Mr. Baxter:  I do not know whether I have got very much light on the position. I am quite convinced that you are going to stimulate thought and activity in the areas which I have in mind if, right from the start, they are put on the same level as adjoining areas. You will get activity there of a character which you will not get if these areas are not brought within the scope of the Bill at an early stage.

I accepted the Minister's challenge and I indicated areas in my own county—though I think the Minister did not think that I would be daring enough to do so—to which I hope the Bill will apply. In a number of statements, the Minister has indicated that he would be prepared to give consideration to the bringing of some of these areas within the terms of the Bill. I should prefer to have them brought within the terms of the Bill right from the start or at a very early stage. I cannot see, from what the Minister states, at what stage these areas will come within the framework of the Bill or how exactly that position will develop. I feel that the areas I have in mind will be handicapped in every effort that will be made in regard to the establishment of industries there. Obviously, they cannot be very large industries, because there is no scope for very large industries. However, there will be a number of small industries, each of which will employ a small number of people. I [493] am not at all happy about the situation. I feel that certain districts will be put at a disadvantage, though I do not say that many of the districts within the congested areas are not going to be handicapped also for other reasons.

Machines and raw materials for such industries will have to be imported and the people living in small towns or adjacent areas will be given employment. I fear that worthy projects in the areas I have in mind may be hamstrung because there is no certainty that they will get the support and backing which would be forthcoming under this Bill if these projects were to apply to the congested areas. The Minister says that it is only when somebody comes along with a proposition and it is considered by his Department that the question arises whether it is the Department that will determine whether the proposition is feasible or otherwise. Then when the Department have studied it, the problem of financing the proposition arises. The Minister's Department will not finance the proposition or give technical advice. For that reason, other people will have to be consulted. What will they do? Will an Order be made to bring that industry within the scope of the Bill before consulting people who are going to assist further in the financing of the project? From my point of view, all this is so remote and so difficult to understand that I cannot see how the Act is to be made operative so far as districts which are at present excluded from the scope of the Bill are concerned.

The amendment is specific. It refers to areas which, I take it, the Minister himself at some stage would be prepared to bring within the terms of the Bill. I feel that the Minister should accept the amendment.

Mr. Lemass:  What we are trying to do is to avoid a new definition of the term “congested areas”. I could have taken the existing definition of “congested areas” and said: “There is the part of the country for which this Bill is designed. We are not going to alter it by a yard's breadth.” I could have stuck to that definition, [494] realising the political advantage in the sense that there would be freedom from pressure to include other areas which adherence to that existing definition would confer. I do not think that is desirable. We must recognise the fact that there are contiguous areas where the economic conditions are much the same and where it would be wrong to deprive the State of the power to give the same help if it was held, upon investigation, that help was required and justified.

If, however, we depart from the definition of the “congested areas” and try to draw up another definition it is obvious that we shall meet with certain difficulties. People in West Cavan, North Longford, West Limerick and some other areas may proceed on the assumption that, if a proposition from these areas appears to be of the kind which the Bill is designed to foster, I would not hesitate to make the Order—but that does not mean that they would get any help. Senator Baxter appears to assume that the making of an Order to extend the scope of the Bill to West Cavan or other areas means that they will get help. The decision will be made by Foras Tionscal and it will depend on the merits of each proposition. I do not think that a representative local committee would be any more reliable as a guide in coming to a decision in this matter than anybody else but I am certain that you would have these local committees coming from every part of the country and arguing that their part had economic difficulties also and should come within the scope of this Bill.

We must get it clear that the purpose of the Bill is to assist in promoting industrial development in the areas west of the Shannon and that any attempt to extend eastward the area to which the Bill relates will defeat that purpose and should, therefore, be resisted. I do not want to exclude altogether the possibility of a Minister's making an Order applying this Bill to West Cavan, North Longford, West Limerick or any other similar area, even without any definite proposition in the field at all, but I think it is far more likely that he will not [495] do so until he receives a suitable proposition.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Has the Minister any objection to hearing the views of a representative local committee?

Mr. Lemass:  None whatever.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Surely this amendment deals primarily with that point? It seeks to require the Minister to get these views before making an Order.

Mr. Lemass:  I have an objection to any suggestion that, either in response to representations from local committees or anyone else, we should depart from the main purpose of the Bill. The Senator may not be aware that, already, representations have been made in the Dáil for the extension of this Bill to an east coast port town on the grounds that in that area there is an economic problem which somebody must solve. There may be such a problem there but if it is to be solved it must be solved in some other way. This Bill is for a specific purpose and must be confined to that purpose. I realise that the definition of the term “congested areas” in the 1909 Land Act was determined not so much by the process of methodical calculations which determined the earlier definition of “congested areas” as, to some extent, by political considerations prevailing at the time and local pressure exercised by vested interests and that there is, in fact, no argument in favour of that particular definition of “congested areas” except that it has been there for almost 50 years and has been accepted and become known generally.

In North Longford, West Cavan, and a portion of West Limerick the economic conditions, judged by any standard, are precisely similar to those in adjoining parts of neighbouring counties and, therefore, the area of the Bill might conceivably be extended to include them. The trouble is that if you start extending it at all you will stop somewhere within a ten miles' radius of Dublin.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. O'Higgins:  I move amendment No. 2.

[496] In sub-section (1) to delete paragraph (b) and substitute therefor the following:—

(b) any other area to which, by resolution passed by each House of the Oireachtas, the Act is for the time being declared to apply.

Having regard to the views the Minister expressed on the first amendment, I take it that he will find no difficulty in accepting this amendment. I think that the main purpose of this amendment will safeguard the point of view the Minister expressed in his reply to Senator Baxter. If accepted, it will at least have the effect of relieving the Minister of a certain amount of pressure and of restraining him in respect of the possibility of extending this Bill too much. The principal reason for putting down the amendment is the objectionable feature contained in Section 3 which provides for extending the scope of this piece of legislation by ministerial Order. I agree that in some cases—mainly cases in which better or speedier administration is required—it is necessary to acquiesce in legislation by Order; but, generally speaking, it is an objectionable practice and one which this House should set its face against.

We have not got the same right to elicit information by means of parliamentary question as is enjoyed by Deputies, and, if this Bill is passed in its present form, so far as the Seanad is concerned, the Minister need not give us any further information about it. He may make Orders extending the scope of the Bill without any reference to the Seanad. Deputies are in a more fortunate position in that they can ask the Minister questions which, I take it, the Minister will be bound to answer. The objection here is to the fact that, in Section 3 (1) (b), the Minister seeks the sanction of the House to a provision which will enable him to extend, and possibly to extend very widely, the scope of the Bill by an Order, without reference back to either this House or the Dáil. That practice is definitely objectionable and one which we should oppose.

I confess that I see a weakness in the amendment as drafted, because the [497] Minister might find this difficulty, that, as a resolution could be proposed by any member of the Dáil or Seanad, the Order Papers in the Dáil and Seanad might be flooded out with such resolutions. That, however, can be very easily overcome and the Minister, in fact, is in a position to overcome it without altering the wording of the amendment at all by adjusting the time permitted for such resolutions. With a very slight alteration in the amendment which could be made on Report Stage, that difficulty could be overcome—if the amendment were made to read: “Any other area to which, by resolution moved by the Minister and passed by each House of the Oireachtas, the Act is for the time being declared to apply.”

That slight change would, I think, meet any possible objection the Minister might have to the amendment. I am opposed to any provision which empowers a Minister to extend the scope of an Act by Order without reference back to or review by either House of the Oireachtas.

I do not know whether I should relate this amendment to amendment No. 9, but if the Minister could now indicate that he is agreeable to accept that amendment, we might shorten the discussion on this amendment. I would prefer to see in the Bill a provision which would make it incumbent on the Minister to come back either to the Dáil or Seanad, or to both, before interfering with the legislation now being passed; but if I fail in that, the Minister might meet the House by agreeing that if the scope of the legislation is to be extended, the House will have an opportunity of reviewing it and annulling the Order by resolution, which is the suggestion in amendment No. 9.

Mr. Lemass:  I am completely opposed to both these amendments. I again ask the House to keep this in mind, that the making of an Order by the Minister extending the scope of the Bill to include some other area does not mean anything by itself. Nothing happens as a result of that and nothing can happen, unless Foras Tionscal get a proposition and decide [498] to accept it and support it. Consequently, it is wrong to assume that you are giving the Minister a power which could be utilised to benefit one particular proposal or industrial project which might be submitted to him. I think it would be very undesirable to have this amendment in the Bill, because any member of the Dáil or Seanad who sought to move a motion on the lines indicated would very quickly realise that the wider he made his motion, the more support he would get for it. If Senator Baxter wanted to move a motion in respect of Cavan, or if some Deputy wanted to move a motion to include Limerick, he would realise that he would be more likely to get support for it if he included a lot of other counties and the more he added, the more certain he would be of getting support for his motion. Any attempt to confine the extension to a very limited area would probably defeat the object of the person suggesting it.

The alternative—that the motion should be moved by the Minister, or that the Minister should be required to justify his having made an Order— relates back to what I said on Senator Baxter's amendment, that the question of making an Order extending the Bill to some contiguous area is more likely to arise when a particular proposition which has been under consideration by the Department appears likely to proceed in one of these areas, if certain support could be given to it by Foras Tionscal and an Order is made, the effect of which is to permit Foras Tionscal to examine it. It will be appreciated that it would be a difficult matter for any Minister to come to the Dáil or Seanad and justify making an Order on that ground. He cannot in fact say that the proposition is going to get any support. That is not a matter for his decision and he would not like to appear to give it that type of approval which would be involved in the submission of a motion to the Oireachtas, in support of which some reference would have to be made to it.

In a matter of this kind, you have to give the Minister concerned the power to use it subject to his general responsibility to the Oireachtas for all [499] his acts and let him use it in accordance with his discretion. I have already expressed my view that it is important that we should not lose sight of the fact that the main purpose of the Bill is to induce industrial development west of the Shannon, if we can get it, and this power to add in other areas is merely to prevent an anomalous situation arising, as could easily happen if we had a Bill drafted for an unalterable area.

Mr. O'Higgins:  The Minister has possibly missed the point. There is an objection contained in this amendment to the principle of ministerial Orders and the extension of the scope of legislation by Order. The Minister, perhaps, is right in endeavouring to relate it entirely to the degree of responsibility as between himself on the one hand and the board to be set up by the same Minister on the other hand. I think the question is a lot broader than that. There is an objection to the mere fact that the Minister here seeks to obtain in advance the sanction of the House for an Order which he at some later date is going to make without the knowledge and possibly without the consent of the majority in this House or in the Dáil. I think that is a real objection and I think the Minister has made no effort at all to meet it. We cannot overlook it here—we are not children and the Minister will not expect us to overlook it—that he as the Minister is the person who is going to appoint the board to carry out the provisions of this Bill. None of us is so foolish as to believe that the board will not be influenced by the policy and directions of the Minister in carrying out the administration of the Bill. Having regard to that, I think the Minister is a bit too naive when he endeavours to say that once the board is set up he will have nothing further to do except make an Order and then it will be a matter for the board.

Mr. Lemass:  I would like to counter any suggestion that the board will be subject to any direction of the Minister. I would certainly hope it would have regard to his policy in so far as its [500] policy is designed to achieve the results towards which this Bill is aimed, but in the matter of directions—and particularly if the Senator has an idea of directions relating to individual propositions—there is certainly no suggestion that they will be given. Furthermore, I hope to select people who, even if they got those suggestions, would not be prepared to act upon them.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  I would ask the House to support the amendment proposed by Senator O'Higgins. If we are to have any regard to our rights and obligations at legislators we should cut down as far as possible the giving to Departments or to Ministers of the general right to legislate after the measures have left the House. Under this section as it now stands, the Minister will have power which we should not give him, which we should not give to any Minister, to extend the special laws in regard to areas that the Bill itself gives. Senator O'Higgins's amendment is a very reasonable one and I thought it should have appealed to the Minister. It would make matters much easier for him if these areas are prescribed later on, not by an individual, by a Minister, but by the Oireachtas. The Minister has said that nothing can be done in regard to any of the contiguous areas unless the board first moves. Am I right in that?

Mr. Lemass:  No, the board is not concerned with the extension of the areas at all.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  I thought the Minister said that nothing would be done in the way of bringing in any new area unless a scheme were put forward by some representative body.

Mr. Lemass:  I did not say that. I said that was the most likely way in which it would be done.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  No scheme can be put forward except for an undeveloped area.

Mr. Lemass:  That is too naive.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  Pardon me, I [501] think we cannot be too precise on matters of this kind. The board may not do anything for an area unless it is an undeveloped area. How is a firm of industrialists to come along to put up a scheme for an area which they think may become an undeveloped area but which at the time of their plan or idea is not an undeveloped area under the Bill? They might be told to get their scheme ready for this potentially undeveloped area, to find later on that for various reasons an Order could not be made to bring in that area. I would ask the Minister to accept this amendment. It would be much easier for himself if new areas were prescribed by the Oireachtas and not by himself or his Department. He will not get into a lot of the troubles that may follow the bringing in of a special area.

Again, we should be very careful in dispossessing ourselves of rights of legislation—that is what we are doing— by giving a Minister the right to lay down a new law by making an Order. The amendment is a reasonable one and, indeed, the Minister should have accepted it without hesitation.

Mr. Lemass:  I would much prefer to take out of the Bill the power the Minister has and to confine the Bill to congested areas.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Will the Minister do that?

Eamon Ó Ciosáin:  I would be very much opposed to this amendment, for the simple reason that it would place both Houses of the Oireachtas in an impossible position. If this Bill would give power to any member of the Dáil or Seanad to put down a resolution to have a certain area included as one of the congested districts, the result would be that every member of the Oireachtas would be approached by people down the country to put down a resolution of that kind in the Dáil or Seanad. Then there would be a certain amount of lobbying in these Houses in regard to the support that would be forthcoming for the resolution. It would bring about confusion around this measure and I would advise the Seanad to resist the amendment.

[502]Professor Hayes:  When I saw these amendments I must confess that I preferred amendment No. 9 to amendment No. 2. Senator O'Higgins himself does not like the way amendment No. 2 is worded.

Mr. Colgan:  Why did he put it in, then?

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  He has a perfect right to do so.

Mr. O'Higgins:  To wake Senator Colgan up a bit.

Mr. Colgan:  There is no necessity to wake Senator Colgan at all.

Professor Hayes:  It is my own opinion I am giving. I preferred amendment No. 9. Senator O'Higgins does not like the way amendment No. 2 is worded. However, it is better to put down an amendment and, having read it, to realise that its wording could be amended, than to be quiescent and put down nothing at all. He suggests the words “any other area to which by resolution moved by the Minister and passed by both Houses the Act may apply”. But the Minister does not want that power. The position seems to be that Senator O'Higgins does not want it as it is on the Order Paper and the Minister does not want it as Senator O'Higgins would change it to give him the power.

I would prefer that the question of controlling Ministers and preserving parliamentary rights should be dealt with on amendment No. 9. I hope the Minister will not accuse me of being naïve because I agree with Senator Kissane that if you do what is suggested in the present wording of amendment No. 2 there would be a considerable amount of lobbying. I do not think it could bring satisfactory results, as a Government in office could always prevent these particular motions from being discussed at all. The Minister said several times that the making of an Order to include an area does not mean that anything would happen. I agree with that, that it does not mean an industry will be established in a particular area; but it is true that, unless the Minister makes an Order, no industry could be [503] established there at all under this Bill. Therefore, the making of an Order is important.

I suggest to the House that we should recognise, as the Minister himself has said, that the definition of “congested districts” must necessarily be an elastic one. Anybody acquainted with them knows that outside of these particular counties there are other areas, some of them contiguous to those counties but not all of them, which are poor areas. I know one in Cavan, in which I am interested because of Irish language matters, which is a very poor area indeed. It would be much better if we were to let the amendment go now and make up our minds to give the Minister power to make an Order, but to provide that when he makes an Order both Houses must see it and that each House will have the power to annul the Order. That is by far the better method of dealing with the problem, which is a very genuine one. There should be power in the Bill—taking it on its face value and wishing it well—to extend the areas, but there should not be power to extend the areas without the knowledge of both Houses and without power to each House to annul the extension.

Mr. Burke:  I do not see why there should be any ministerial objection to presenting these Orders to both Houses. I have been a member of this House for nearly four years and I do not remember any occasion when we refused to give the sanction that the Minister wanted. Since the State was established, I suppose there must not have been half a dozen occasions on which even a question was raised in connection with an Order placed before both Houses of the Oireachtas. We are quite confident that the present Minister will see that the thing is done in the right way, but, if some other Minister was in charge, we want to safeguard against something being done in a wrong way. I think the Minister or his officials should feel that legislation will not be held up by this reasonable safeguard which we are asking.

Eamon Ó Ciosáin:  Which amendment [504] are we discussing—is it amendment No. 9?

An Cathaoirleach:  Uimhir a dó.

Mr. Colgan:  When Senator Burke was speaking, I thought we were on amendment No. 9. Senator Hayes made a very fine plea that Senator O'Higgins should withdraw this amendment and plank for amendment No. 9. Senator O'Higgins admitted himself that he did not like the amendment and I think Senator Hayes does not like it either. I am not saying that I shall vote for amendment No. 9, but it would be saving time if Senator O'Higgins would withdraw the amendment in favour of amendment No. 9.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Mr. Baxter:  I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (2) after paragraph (c) to add the following paragraph:—

(d) the dispensary districts of Dowra, Swanlinbar, Bawnboy, Ballyconnell, Killeshandra, Arva and Kilnaleck, in the County of Cavan.

I am moving this amendment to get the Minister to define West Cavan, I hope. I have put down the amendment in this very specific form because I want to get the Minister to disclose what exactly he has in his mind with regard to an area like this which is coming, or may come at some stage, within the terms of this Bill. As I see this problem, the Minister is presenting us with a Bill for the undeveloped areas and I take it that the purpose of this whole measure is to develop these areas. How does he propose to do that? By the establishment of industries here and there, where that is possible. As I said earlier, he is proposing to join men and women to machines and raw materials. But the main factor is consideration for the men and women of the future and his hope is that he is going to take these areas, from which young people have been going over many years, and to put them in a position whereby these people can find work in their native surroundings and build homes so that the nation by this [505] sort of activity can do something to stem the bleeding which is so disastrous if it continues.

The Minister has been pleased to classify these areas under the title “undeveloped.” He is taking the areas from the 1909 Act of the British Parliament and, in the main, he is confining this Bill to that particular part of the country. I do not know what is sacrosanct about the title “congested areas” as written into the British Act of 1909. I should imagine that that is the sort of thing the Minister would be trying to repudiate. The Ireland of 1909 is not the Ireland of 1952, and he is legislating for the years ahead. We ought to be trying to change these conditions. He is trying to do that by this Bill, at least he hopes to do something to achieve it. But the real problem for him, and I take it the problem confronting the people who conceived this notion, is the flight of the people from this part of the country. I take it that is what animated those who conceived this method of dealing with the situation. If it is not an effort to try to keep the people in those districts, I do not know what we are aiming at. But surely, if that is to be achieved, we ought to try to measure the application of this Bill to the areas where it can bring benefits, if it be applied.

Certain figures were given in the other House. I have put down a number of areas in County Cavan. The figures with regard to emigration from the congested districts, the areas covered by the Bill, are as follows: In Sligo, the fall in population from 1936 to 1946 was 7.5; in Leitrim, 12.4, the largest by far; in Roscommon, 6.5; in Donegal, 4.2; in Galway 1.8; in Mayo, 8.2; in Kerry, 4.2. Then there is my county which is outside this area and it may be a surprise to Senators to know that the fall in population there was 8.2, despite the fact that the population of a number of towns there has increased. The truth is that the area of Cavan-Leitrim, the Diocese of Kilmore, is the area where there has been the most sweeping decline in the population over the last ten years.

I am asking the Minister to do what Senator O'Higgins suggested earlier he ought to do, that instead of legislating [506] by Order, he ought to legislate by allowing the Legislature to do this job and therefore we ought specifically to state here the areas to which this Bill is to apply. I have named a number of dispensary districts in my county. The Minister has indicated that he is prepared to consider the inclusion of West Cavan in this area. I do not know what he means by West Cavan. I should like to point out to the House that the districts which I have named in my amendment go right along the Leitrim border from the border of Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim down to the west of the Shannon until they come to where the Leitrim-Longford-Cavan border joins outside the town of Arva.

Senators have heard the figures which I have already given. The largest figures of depopulation in the areas included in the terms of the Bill relate to the County Leitrim where the fall in population has been 12.2. Now, the dispensary districts which I seek to have included in the Bill indicate a fall in population along these lines: Dowra, 14.3; Swanlinbar, 12.2; Ballyconnell, which includes a rather comfortable town, 7.7; Killeshandra, 14.0; Arva, 12.5, and Kilnaleck, 10.9. These are much larger than the average fall in population in any county within the congested areas. I think myself that it would be much better for the Minister to include these dispensary districts within the terms of the Bill. It would be much sounder to do so, because it would give those people some incentive right from the beginning. At least, it would permit them to know where they stood, and that their areas were open to consideration by the new authority which the Minister proposes to set up. I do not know what the Minister is going to say to me in reply. At least, we should try to debate this question on the plane of reason. If we do so, I can see no reason in the world why the Minister would not be prepared to accept my amendment. The Minister said in the other House to Deputy MacEoin that he was prepared to consider the case of North Longford. In the dispensary districts of Arva and Kilnaleck, which are farthest south-west if you like, the [507] fall in population in these two areas is 12.5 and 10.9 respectively. All the other areas are right along the Leitrim border.

I want to suggest to the Minister that the case for this amendment is so strong on the figures, with the fact that the whole case is based on the necessity of developing areas because the people are flying away from them, that there can be no objection whatever to including them in the terms of the Bill. If the Minister does that he will have solved the problem right from the beginning, and will not be obliged later to be seeking advice from his officials as to whether this or that area is to come within the terms of the Bill. It would be much better to have these areas set out now in the legislation, in relation anyhow to the districts which we want to benefit.

I am unhappy about this whole method of making an Order at some stage in the future. There is a certain amount of instability and uncertainty about that. I think that my approach to this is the correct approach. The Minister's point that he does not want a new definition of the congested areas does not make any appeal to me. These areas that I have mentioned must be as congested as the others. There is this to be said, that our people are not lazy. They do not just want to sit down and do nothing. They will go out and look for work and do whatever job they can find. Many of those people are going away to places where they can find work. That is as much an answer to the depopulation in some of these districts as any other that one can find. That is something which we want to arrest. If those people are daring and are ready to face the world, well I suggest that they are the sort of people we ought to try and keep at home, particularly in a county like this, where the people possess the energy and the capacity for work. I think that, right from the beginning of the operation of this measure, the Minister ought to give them every possible encouragement to remain at home. I suggest that the way to give the people in those districts real encouragement is by bringing those [508] areas within the terms of the Bill.

Mr. Lemass:  I am in this position that, while I am resisting this amendment and asking the Seanad not to adopt it, nevertheless, if in a fortnight's time I thought that any useful result would come to any of these dispensary districts by making an Order under Section 3 extending the Bill to them, I would make that Order.

Mr. Baxter:  To any of them?

Mr. Lemass:  I should think so. There is a flourishing industry in one of those districts already.

Mr. Baxter:  No.

Mr. Lemass:  The reason why I am asking the Seanad not to accept this amendment—I asked the Dáil not to accept a similar amendment—is because of my belief that if we depart from the sheet anchor of the existing definition of the congested areas, we do not know where we would end. It is certain that if I brought in this Bill with Section 3 so framed as to apply it to the existing congested areas, plus West Cavan, North Longford and West Limerick, we would now be discussing some other amendment dealing with East Cavan, Westmeath, South Cork or some other area contiguous to the area to which the Bill applied. You could always find some argument for going a step farther east. That is the point which I want the Seanad to keep in mind, that the wider we go beyond the area to which the Bill will apply the less effective it will be in doing the precise job for which it was framed. I do not want to get into a discussion on a definition of West Cavan, but I am prepared to agree, if Senator Baxter will accept it, to put into the Bill a clause to the effect that if the Minister does extend the definition of the Bill to include West Cavan, that West Cavan shall not be deemed to include any districts except those which the Senator has named.

Mr. Baxter:  I accept that.

Mr. Lemass:  I argued this at length in the Dáil. There was in fact a division in the Dáil on an amendment to extend the Bill to the whole of Cavan. The Deputy who moved the amendment resides, I think, in East Cavan.

[509]Mr. Baxter:  I am not in any of these dispensary districts myself.

Mr. Lemass:  I could not possibly go back to the Dáil with this amendment in view of the nature of the resistance which I put up in the Dáil to an amendment which proposed to extend the Bill to the whole of Cavan, and to other amendments, relating to North Longford and other areas. I am convinced that it is much wiser to keep the existing congested areas as defined in the 1909 Act as the basis of the Bill. It makes the aim of the Bill clearer to the public and easier to resist pressure that may occasionally come from areas in the east for special assistance on the plea that they have economic problems in those areas. If they want to have their economic problems solved by special action on the part of the State, then that action will have to be taken under some other measure.

This Bill is introduced for the purpose of encouraging industry west of the Shannon. Anything that would weaken that purpose in the least would weaken the effectiveness of the Bill. I repeat, however, that I would believe it to be undesirable to take the existing congested areas as defined and to stick to them, by refusing to go even one yard or a hundred yards outside of them. That would be unwise. I think that there should be some flexibility, the flexibility to be utilised only when there is some advantage likely to follow. That is why I would have no hesitation in making an Order extending the Bill to districts in West Cavan if I thought there was a reasonable prospect of some benefit resulting to them from that extension. If we do that now, we are doing something more than dealing with a specific proposition.

We are dealing with a general issue of policy in relation to this Bill and we cannot make that change merely for the benefit of West Cavan. If we depart from the definition of the congested areas, then I think we might as well go the whole hog and try to draw up another definition to cover all the undeveloped areas in the country. If we do that on any logical basis, we shall then find ourselves in the position that we shall get farther and farther [510] away from the West and start including areas in the East which, even though they are in the East, are still in many respects just as much in need of special measures for their development as are many of the areas in the West.

Mr. Baxter:  The Minister has advanced arguments for and against. Quite frankly, he has not convinced me that he has any good reason for not accepting my amendment. It is not true to say that there was a similar amendment in the Dáil because, so far as I recollect, there was no such specific amendment in the Dáil.

Mr. Lemass:  No, but the Dáil did not attempt to define West Cavan either. One of the Deputies representing Longford did take his courage in his hands.

Mr. Baxter:  I think someone did refer to dispensary districts. When one speaks of North Longford one is speaking of an old constituency; likewise, one has East and West Breffni, East and West Cavan. East is one constituency and west is the other. Cavan town is in the old West Cavan constituency but it is not in any of the dispensary districts which I have enumerated in this amendment. I think the Minister must admit that I have had some courage in putting down an amendment which excludes the town of Cavan.

Later on I think the Minister will come to realise that it would have been wiser to accept an amendment like this rather than face the position he may find confronting him. In my opinion it would be much more satisfactory to accept an amendment like this rather than be faced with the problem of taking decisions subsequently as to whether or not a certain district should be included or excluded, decisions as to what approach should be made and what are to be the determining factors. I think that is something the Minister ought to avoid.

I have made my case for the inclusion of these districts on the basis of the decline in population. I think that should be the supreme test. If we separate Ireland from its people, [511] as I said earlier, Ireland means nothing. On the figures which I have produced, and which are available to anyone who wishes to study them, there is a decline in population. The Minister mentioned the decline in population in Carlingford but the decline there is only 7.1 or half what it is in most of the districts I have enumerated. I know Carlingford and the surrounding districts and there is no comparison between soil conditions there and the way of life of the people there with the conditions in the districts given by me. On the basis, therefore, of the decline in population there is every justification for the Bill applying to that particular area.

If the Minister tells me that he sees no reason why a request should not be made to him that he should make an Order applying the Bill to any or all of these districts, then I shall have something definite and specific. But there, again, I see the disadvantage to which I referred earlier. It may be difficult because of conditions there to bring forward any proposition and I hold that that is something which ought not to be to the people's disadvantage. As things are, these people should have the law with them right from the start. They are in a much worse position than many of the areas that are included in what the Minister describes as the congested areas. I do not think we should legislate along such lines because I do not think it is fair.

I do not want the Bill extended to the whole country or even to my whole county. I have stated that very clearly. I do not believe that should be done because if one starts to water down the measure it will eventually prove less fruitful in the areas in which the Act will operate. Right from the start we should have it very clearly in our minds as to where we want the Act to operate.

I feel there is something haphazard about all this. I am convinced that we require much closer study of our problem of industrialisation and the things we want to exploit and the area in which it would be most suitable to exploit them. While it may be a good [512] idea to leave this to local initiative, if local initiative fails to do anything and if the means are not available to the local people to take the initiative, I do not think we will get very far under this measure.

If I can have some assurance now from the Minister that the people in the areas I have suggested will get consideration under this measure I will be reasonably satisfied. If I do not get that assurance, then I can only express disappointment and state that we are not getting fair treatment.

Mr. Lemass:  Making it quite clear that any decision as to whether the Act shall apply in any particular case will be taken by Foras Tionscal and not by the Minister, nobody who is thinking of embarking on any industrial proposition in West Cavan need hesitate to complete his plans because some aid may be required to bring them into operation through any doubt that, if the plans are deemed to be practicable and sound, the necessary Order will not be made.

Mr. Baxter:  There seems to be something very conditional about that.

Mr. Lemass:  I cannot say definitely that anybody in West Cavan, or West Donegal for that matter, will get any help.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.


Professor Johnston:  I move amendment No. 4:—

Before Section 5 to insert a new section as follows:—

() In the course of its operations the board shall have regard to the following major considerations:—

(a) the desirability of developing on an appropriate economic foundation a social and economic organisation in which Gaelic culture and civilisation may survive, flourish and expand;

(b) the desirability of integrating industrial development with a general economic structure in [513] which agriculture, industry, afforestation, fishing, tourism, turf production and the arts and crafts play their respective parts;

(c) the desirability of co-ordinating the activities of the board with those of Bord na Móna, the Irish Sugar Company, the Forestry Department, the Electricity Supply Board, the Arterial Drainage Board and all central and local Government agencies which are in any way concerned with ameliorating conditions in the undeveloped areas.

I hope the Minister will be disposed to view this amendment sympathetically. I can assure him that it is by no means designed to spoil the general structure of the Bill. I agree that to a certain extent we must solve our economic problems one by one; but at the same time we should have in view the general pattern of national economic policy while contemplating also the kind of civilisation or social order which we hope will emerge from the various steps we take.

My own idea of a good social order is that advocated by the late Sir Horace Plunkett and the late George Russell, who saw in a co-operative commonwealth a modern civilisation reproducing all that is best in the old Gaelic social order. I suggest that the persons charged with the administrative duty of implementing this Bill should have clearly at the back of their minds an idea of the kind of civilisation we hope will result from their efforts even though they themselves play only a small part in the creation of that structure. I am trying to supply the administrative machine with headlights and steering gear, knowing that the dynamics that make it go must come from some other source. The duty of the board is to promote industrial development in the congested areas, but, I think, rightly interpreted, that duty includes also the duty to do all in their power to create the conditions in which new industries may grow, take root and develop and maintain a permanent and vigorous vitality. If they are to fulfil that function, they will have to have [514] the closest co-operation with all the other Government and local agencies that are playing a part in the local life and the most intimate knowledge of the local conditions and the human material with which they are concerned.

If you ask why is the economic life of the congested areas at such a low level under present conditions I suppose one might answer: “Because there is no industrial production and very little agricultural production.” If you go further and ask why is there no local industrial production one important part of the answer would be: “Because there is no surplus purchasing power available on the part of the local agriculturists to buy the products of local industries if any such industries existed.” If you ask why is local agriculture at such a low level that there is little surplus purchasing power, the answer is that there is no local market in that part of the world of non-agriculturists to buy surplus products of agriculture and so agriculture has a low subsistence level and the agriculturists have no purchasing power. In that environment it is extremely difficult for industrial development to take place by natural economic incentives.

That is the kind of situation which we will have to try to improve. It is a vicious circle at present and we have, therefore, to do what we can to develop industry and at the same time to develop agriculture. You cannot permanently develop the one without, at the same time, developing the other. Development of agriculture in the congested areas depends on the development of industries in these areas. The development of industry depends on the development of agriculture in those areas. In that respect the congested areas are quite different from the rest of the country. In the rest of the country you could have a one-sided national policy of concentrating on the development of agriculture and the resulting improvement in the purchasing power of farmers would indirectly and ultimately produce the natural development of the industrial life in the rest of the country. The reason for that is that you have an export market for [515] what we can produce in the rest of the country. In the congested areas they are cut off by natural obstacles from ready and cheap access to the rest of the world, even to their own country, much more so to the external export market. They have to be looked at as a more or less isolated economic area and for that reason it is necessary that there should be a conjoint attempt at the development of both agriculture and industry side by side, step by step and hand in hand.

If there is to be that co-ordination of effort it is essential that the persons charged with the administration of this Bill should have the maximum local knowledge. If they are to have that they must have their headquarters in some suitable centre in each of the areas which they are trying to develop. I hope the fact that there are three members of this board is an indication that it is proposed that the headquarters of one of them should be, say, in Castlebar or Westport, that another should have his personal headquarters in Killarney and a third should be situated in Dungloe or Letterkenny, each one to have primary responsibility for policy in his particular part of the congested areas. I am quite certain if these three wise men are to be buried in a back room of a Dublin Government office and only accessible to the kind of pressure that is so common in Dublin and deprived of the local knowledge they can only obtain by living in the neighbourhood of the congested areas, they will achieve nothing of any permanent value.

May I give some examples of the kind of co-ordination of effort I have in mind? It would be highly desirable that the farmers in County Galway should keep more pigs but if they are to do so they are faced with the fact that at present there is no pig factory nearer to them than Castlebar, which is a very good pig factory indeed but it happens to be 47 or 50 miles or more away from many parts of County Galway. Transport to that distant factory would remove a good deal of the profit of pig rearing. It is desirable that a pig processing factory should be established in Clifden, shall [516] we say, but if this is to be established successfully the farmers in that whole neighbourhood must be induced to keep more pigs. That is a job, in the first instance, for the local instructors of the Department of Agriculture but, of course, ultimately for the farmers themselves.

Now I am told that the local instructors of the Department of Agriculture do not do any teaching of agriculture at all in the the whole of that Gaeltacht area of Galway, but confine their activities to taking orders for day-old chicks when they get them, and handing out seed potatoes at less than their economic price. If that is so the sooner that state of affairs comes to an end the better and the sooner the Department's officials start teaching the farmers how they should go about rearing more pigs and, generally speaking, adding to their agricultural production, the better. For although we think of the land of Connaught as being pretty poor it is not so poor as all that. You can grow quite big crops of potatoes on that soil, provided it is properly drained. I have heard of ten or 12 tons of potatoes per statute acre being grown on quite ordinary land in County Galway; and you can grow quite good crops of oats on the same land provided it is properly drained. I have heard of a yield of 30 cwt. of oats to the acre being got on quite ordinary land. The trouble is that the people have been so pauperised and so neglected and so little disposed to make the most of their available resources that they have not responded to agricultural education because they have not been given any to respond to. One of the functions of this board should be to work with all the other Governments agencies, especially the Department of Agriculture in order to improve the economic life of the people in the Gaeltacht.

Some time ago, the Department of Agriculture did, I think, encourage the production of strawberries in County Mayo. Mayo is practically the only part of the British Isles in which strawberries are free from the virus disease and will grow and flourish. Some years ago, when strawberry plants were exhausted in Great Britain, they had to renew their stock [517] of plants from plants which emanated originally from County Mayo, though, probably, they did not bear that trade name after they came to be sold in Great Britain. The strawberry-growing industry of these isles depends on the fact that the virus disease which is in strawberries does not exist in Mayo or, probably, in Galway. The particular fly which brings that disease cannot survive in the climate down there, and, having recently travelled down to that part of the country two days after Christmas, I can well understand that. It is all to the good that the horticultural instructors of County Mayo have encouraged the growing of strawberries for sale to other parts of the world. Whether they are grown for sale as plants, for fruit for dessert or for making jam, I see no reason why they should not be grown more widely in Mayo, Galway and elsewhere. In that connection, I would suggest the desirability for a jam factory, which should be owned by the Strawberry Growers' Co-operative Society. In any event, such a factory should be brought into existence. This is the sort of thing which the proposed board should encourage. It would represent a valuable example of the association between the work of the Department of Agriculture and the work of the new board.

A scheme for the establishment of glass houses for the growing of tomatoes had reached a certain stage of development before the last Government came into power and it was then treated with undeserved contempt by the late Minister for Agriculture. I am not aware of the extent to which that scheme has succeeded, but I do know that there is plenty of turf in Connemara and that a cheap source of peat is a desirable economic factor in the production of tomatoes. I feel that the climatic conditions are such that tomato growing could be freely encouraged in many parts of that area. There are such things as chutney factories for using up surplus tomatoes. In this way the board could coordinate the activities of the various agencies that are trying to improve the lot of the people in the undeveloped areas. My purpose in this amendment [518] is to draw attention to the desirability of such and also co-ordination—co-ordination with local Government agencies especially the county councils.

Everyone is aware that limestone is notoriously deficient in Connemara. That is generally true but there are places here and there in Connemara where limestone does crop up. It has been brought to my notice that a certain limestone quarry is being worked by the county council, not to provide lime for spreading on land which is badly in need of it, but to provide lime for road surfacing where it is absolutely useless. Everybody knows that limestone is not a good road surfacing material. These quarriers, apparently, do not know any better or for one reason or another they use lime on the roads instead of spreading it on the land. Co-ordination between various Government agencies working in that area would discourage people from using limestone in that uneconomic way. Farmers should be encouraged to draw lime to their land from a quarry which happens to be situated in an area which needs lime.

I have here with me a rather illegible report on local economic conditions from a friend of mine who spent much of his administrative life in the Far East and who has now settled down permanently in Connemara. He knows and loves that area and he has visited it from his childhood. He says, apropos of oats, poultry and eggs:—

“There is no buying organisation in Clifden and the local market is small and unreliable. This should be set up. I have noticed eggs priced in the Dublin shops at 3/6 when they were only 1/6 in Clifden, and fowls costing 15/- in Dublin would be 7/6 in Clifden. Nobody is going to increase poultry stocks beyond home hotel needs under such conditions.”

These facts seem to me to be the most important economic factor in the situation and the one which this board should aim at altering for the better as soon as it possibly can.

Eamon Ó Ciosáin:  I must say at the outset that I speak on this amendment [519] with a sense of grievance. When I was referring to the many activities which should be carried on in the Gaeltacht by the various Departments of State, especially the Department of Agriculture, on the Second Reading of this Bill, I was called to order and told that I was irrelevant, or something to that effect. I was more than surprised to find a fully fledged amendment on this Order Paper for discussion to-day. I fail to understand, therefore, how something can be irrelevant on the Second Reading of the Bill and fully relevant on the Committee Stage through the medium of a well thought out amendment.

Professor Hayes:  Brains, Sir, is the answer.

Eamon Ó Ciosáin:  At any rate, this amendment is very comprehensive and far-reaching, but comprehensive and far-reaching though it is, as far as I can see, even if it were accepted by the Seanad, it would not confer any more power on the board than has already been provided for it by this measure. It is true, of course, to say that the rehabilitation of the Gaeltacht and the improvement of the economic conditions there is a matter for many Departments of State. The Department of Agriculture has a special responsibility in that regard. Senator Johnston has pointed out the various ways in which the Department of Agriculture could take an interest in the Gaeltacht with a view to improving the economic conditions of its inhabitants. It appears to me that there is a suggestion in this amendment that Foras Tionscal should have a kind of co-ordinating function. In other words, it should be in the position to keep in touch with the various Departments in connection with the development of the congested areas of the country. I think it would be very unwise to place any more responsibility on this board than is provided for in this Bill. I should imagine that if there were to be anybody invested with the co-ordinating responsibility as between the different Departments, it should be Seirbhisí na Gaeltachta. This body was set up some years ago for the purpose of establishing, not alone [520] industries which would be appropriate to the Gaeltacht, but also with a view to carrying out any other activities which would be calculated to improve the position of the Gaeltacht.

Seirbhisí na Gaeltachta has succeeded in doing a lot of good work. There are people in that sub-department who are very well acquainted with the problems of the Gaeltacht, and they have already agents in the Gaeltacht who are au fait with the problems there. I think, if there is a suggestion in this amendment that it would be advisable to have co-ordination between departments, that the body which could most appropriately carry it out would be Seirbhisí na Gaeltachta. Foras Tionscal is being set up for one purpose, and one purpose only, namely to encourage the industrialisation of the congested districts of the country including the Gaeltacht. I think we would be very well advised to leave it at that.

Mr. Lemass:  I think Senator Johnston misunderstands completely the purpose of this Bill and the functions of the board to be established under it. He discussed the desiraability of having the three members of the board resident in Kerry, Connemara and Donegal, and apparently contemplated their having offices in these areas from which investigators would go out to seek useful developments upon which they could spend money. It may be desirable that such an organisation should exist—and the type of investigation to which the Senator referred is in fact being undertaken to some extent by the organisation functioning under the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government—but it is not intended that Foras Tionscal should have any such responsibility or should act in that way.

Foras Tionscal will be a committee of three persons which will meet in Dublin and there consider propositions put up by people proposing to invest money in industrial enterprises and who want to get for such enterprises some form of help to offset any disadvantage which may exist because of the selection of a western location. Its purpose will be solely to calculate the help required for each such proposition, [521] to examine its practicability and suitability and the competence of those who are putting it forward, and to make a decision on that basis. Having given that decision that is the end of their function.

Professor Johnston:  I did not hear the Minister very well. Does he suggest that the three members of the board should have their office in Dublin?

Mr. Lemass:  I am suggesting that their office would be more conveniently situated in Dublin and that their sole function is to consider what help should be given to people who propose to establish industries in these areas.

Professor Johnston:  That is vital to the whole question.

Mr. Lemass:  It may be that there is a case for setting up some other kind of organisation. It may be that there is some other organisation, of the type which the Senator has in mind, already in existence but it is not intended that the board set up under this Bill should have any other function. It will be solely concerned with the one task of considering propositions prepared by private groups, to be financed by those groups, for the establishment of industries in certain areas. The business of the board will be to consider what help such groups should receive in order to get industry started and to make a success of it. The integration of the particular industrial activity in which certain people may propose to engage, with other activities of an economic character carried on in the same area will not be their function. That is something which will have to be arranged by the people promoting the enterprise.

I should not like to give the board the responsibility of deciding what is the appropriate economic foundation of a social and economic organisation “in which Gaelic culture and civilisation may survive”. I am quite certain that nobody would accept without question the decision of such a board on an issue of that kind.

It may be desirable that any industrial activity started in the West [522] should be integrated in a general economic structure in which agriculture and afforestation would all play their respective parts, but I have always regarded a private enterprise economy such as we have here as one that grows up to produce that result. The result of a multitude of decisions taken by a number of individuals who have no necessary relationship, one with the other, can be that integration which the Senator seeks. I do not at all agree that the board should have the responsibility of co-ordinating the activities of private firms assisted under the Bill with the activities of the organisations which are set out in paragraph (c) of the Senator's amendment.

I think it is no harm to make it quite clear that neither Bord na Móna, the Sugar Company, the Forestry Department, the Electricity Supply Board nor the Arterial Drainage Board, are solely concerned with the amelioration of conditions in the undeveloped areas. The responsibility of Bord na Móna is to produce turf, of the Sugar Company to manufacture sugar, of the Forestry Department to plant and develop trees, and of the Electricity Supply Board to generate and supply electricity. If we are going to give these organisations, over and above these specific tasks, the responsibility of developing a civilisation and social order, in accordance with the views held by any Senator, then they probably will produce neither civilisation nor social order nor the turf, sugar or electricity. I believe as I said before in leaving each organisation to do its own job in the belief that circumstances will almost certainly produce a situation in which that job will be done in a manner which will integrate it with the jobs being done by all similar organisations.

Professor Johnston:  I should like to press the amendment. I do not accept the view that civil servants can coordinate, from an office in Dublin, the services of various Government Departments. The fact is that Dublin is Dublin and the rest of the country is the rest of the country. There is all the difference in the world between the environment of people living in the country and environment of civil servants living in Dublin. Very occasionally [523] officials do travel at the taxpayers' expense down to Connemara but they get no real knowledge of the local circumstances of the people. As a matter of fact, I am told that Dublin officials are as plentiful as blackberries in the months of July and August, when they travel down there at the public expense in motor cars containing their wives and families on their summer holidays, but they are as rare as snow in midsummer during the rest of the year, when the climate of Connemara is anything but agreeable.

Mr. Hearne:  I wonder does the Senator fully realise what he has said?

Mr. Colgan:  I think the Senator merely said that they went down there on their summer holidays.

Mr. Hearne:  “At the public expense, bringing their wives and families.”

Professor Johnston:  I am not suggesting that they do not carry out a certain amount of official work during their visits but I do suggest that, human nature being what it is, the tendency to concentrate all their travels down there in the agreeable summer months, when they no doubt qualify for travelling expenses, is very considerable, and the tendency to stay at home in Dublin in the winter-time and avoid Connemara like the plague is also very considerable. If the administration is to have real knowledge of Connemara, if any real work is to be done, it must be done by civil servants who live all the year round in the area in question and have real initiative, real responsibility, and are completely au fait with the real social conditions and nature of the people in those areas. Until you have that set-up for the administration of the Gaeltacht you will get nowhere.

I have expressed my views with regard to Dublin as an administrative centre but I doubt very much if even Galway would be a suitable centre for the administrative affairs of Connemara, for Galway has grown considerably in recent years and it may be, for all I know, that Galway is more parasitic on the Gaeltacht than developmental of it and I would personally be [524] all in favour of developing other commercial centres in the West that are better situated to focus local economic life but which have been rather neglected. I have in mind places like Westport and Clifden. I am told that shopkeepers in outlying villages in Connemara will not buy local produce offered to them for sale by local farmers because they would rather buy something in a package distributed to them by Galway wholesalers. I would like to break through once and for all this tissue of local vested interest which is not necessarily favourable to genuine economic life in Connemara. To do that, we must have civil servants with local knowledge and local responsibility to give effect to local administrative plans with full knowledge of local conditions.

The Minister seems to me to have a very early 19th century conception of economic institutions. He wants the country to be a whole series of private enterprise industries working for profit. I would not be opposed to private enterprise industries working for profit; I am all in favour of them, but I do think that as a nation we should show sympathy with the idea of co-operative enterprise especially where people of a low standard of life are concerned who are liable to be exploited by ordinary private profit-seeking industrialists who may set up industries in that part of the world. I would be in favour of setting up as many co-operative enterprises as possible in the congested areas. While I would not deny the desirability of private individual enterprise where possible, I would give preference to the ideal of stimulating local co-operative enterprise. I would suggest that the new board should try to co-ordinate the economic activities of people engaged in various kinds of economic development.

I am sorry that other Senators did not contribute to this discussion but I would like to press the matter.

Professor Hayes:  If the Senator intends to press this amendment it might be desirable that one should say, if there is going to be a vote on it, what one's position is. If there is to be a vote on this amendment, I am [525] afraid that I will not vote for it. Having said that, I should like to add that I admire Senator Johnston's approach to the whole problem of the congested areas, and particularly his whole approach to the Gaeltacht areas. He has given the matter a great deal of thought; he has a great deal of information about it; he has, perhaps, on the whole, the right point of view. I admire a great deal of what he has said, but I do think that if we were to pass this amendment it would not make any material difference to the Bill, nor would it make any material difference to the problem which Senator Johnston and myself and, indeed all of us, are so interested in solving, because the amendment, if it were inserted in the Bill in the form of a new section, would be merely declaratory. It would not have any precise effect. It would be like certain sections of the Constitution of which, I believe, courts need not necessarily take any notice.

The whole tenor of his discourse, however, deals with a matter which I think the Minister says is not in the Bill itself. It has been the Minister's line from the beginning that this is a very restricted Bill. It deals with assistance by the State to private enterprise in certain areas for the initial period, and I think that, while what Senator Johnston said was very interesting and a great deal of it very sound, the insertion of this amendment would not be any use in the Bill, and for that reason I, personally, would vote against it.

If it were a case for a board, not necessarily this board, Foras Tionscal, which would co-ordinate certain activities and which would have in mind the principles set down in paragraph (a) of the amendment, it would, I think, be very arguable. If, however, the amendment were accepted by the Minister, if the Minister were to take the easy way and say: “We will take this”, I do not think it would forward the cause which Senator Johnston, with great credit to himself, has at heart. Senator Johnston is a person who, not only has that cause at heart, but has given it a great deal of hard thinking [526] and has sound ideas on it, but for my part, in the circumstances of this Bill, I would not vote for the amendment.

Mr. O'Donnell:  I regret that I was out of the room when the case for this new section was made, but I am in entire sympathy with Senator Johnston and I disagree with Senator Hayes' point of view. What Senator Johnston is arguing for is the development of a state of mind with regard to the development of industries in these areas. To my mind, that is very essential.

Professor Hayes:  You cannot create a state of mind by Act of Parliament.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Acts of Parliament have created states of mind already.

Professor Hayes:  They have not.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Certainly they have instituted states of mind and, if necessary, I am sure that Acts of Parliament can be found to institute states of mind to-day. This declaration should be set out in some Bill coming from this House or the other House. We must all agree with this amendment and you cannot argue against it. It would not have any effect on the Bill or on the working of the Bill. It is an expression of the opinion that it would be desirable to establish a board that would bear these phases of industrial activity in mind. It is no harm to state that. At the formulation of a new company the reasons why it is being set up are stated and there is no reason why the reasons behind a Bill coming from here should not be stated also. No one here could stand up and state that any section of Senator Johnston's amendment is undesirable. He has stated there clearly for the first time something which we all wish to say and have not said. I would very strongly suggest that the Seanad should pass this amendment. It will not in any way affect the Bill. If we accept Senator Hayes' point of view that nothing matters unless it is down in black and white, that anything you say does not affect the people's mind, that our direction is of no consequence, we might as well not be sitting here, we [527] might as well throw up the sponge and say that nothing matters unless it is defined in close legal phrasing. There are other things behind and beyond that and Senator Johnston has expressed that opinion.

Question put and declared negatived.

Mr. Douglas:  I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (1) in lines 12 and 13, to delete sub-paragraph (i) and substitute therefor the following sub-paragraph:—

() acquire any land either permanently or temporarily; if permanently, either by agreement or compulsorily; if temporarily, by agreement only;.

I put down this amendment because it does not seem to me desirable that there should be powers to acquire property for a temporary purpose by compulsion. I think it is necessary that there should be compulsory powers failing agreement but if property has to be taken compulsorily it should be taken permanently. I do not think it is right to put in a provision by which a board can come along and say to a person: “We want your property or whatever it is for three weeks or three months and we will give it back to you afterwards,” and then, failing agreement, to compel a person to give it for a temporary period. That position would be corrected by my amendment which would leave full compulsory powers where such are necessary and reasonable.

Mr. Lemass:  So far as I know the words “permanently or temporarily” are put in as a sort of legal safeguard.

Mr. Douglas:  A legal safeguard for whom?

Mr. Lemass:  A safeguard against the purposes of the Bill being defeated by the inadequacy of its provisions. The actual phrasing of paragraph (1) is similar to that which has appeared in a number of other statutes. Personally, I do not feel competent to argue the need for it. The aim was to give the board power to acquire compulsorily [528] but I do not think that the board will have to use that power frequently.

It does make for bargaining on equal terms if it is known that the right to compulsory acquisition is in the background. In the absence of compulsory powers, it is not unusual for State organisations to find that prices are raised against them. In the particular case of this Bill, I do not think that it is likely that the compulsory powers will be utilised except in very unusual circumstances. If they had to be used it is more likely that Foras Tionscal would not proceed with the particular project involved at all. I cannot say under what conditions it might be regarded as necessary to have even in the background powers of acquisition temporarily by compulsion.

I should prefer to leave the paragraph as it stands because it is similar to paragraphs in other enactments which have stood the test and its alteration in any respect would involve risks. As to that, I prefer not to have to take the risk of the board finding itself impeded by some possible legal interpretation being put upon the paragraph if it were framed otherwise.

Professor Hayes:  Could the Minister give us any example of other Acts in which the provision exists as in this particular Bill?

Mr. Lemass:  The provisions of this Bill are taken from the Turf Development Act, 1946.

Mr. Baxter:  In relation to the taking over of turf?

Mr. Lemass:  Of land.

Mr. Loughman:  Suppose a factory were to be erected in a particular district and that a half-acre of land were required for six months. The owner of that land might refuse to let it temporarily and say: “I will sell it to you at my particular price.” That land would then have to be acquired for all time, whereas it might be only needed for six months. If the letting price came up for consideration the owner might insist on a fabulous price for the few months that might be required. It would be very wise that the Department, in order to ensure that the particular factory would be erected, should [529] see that the piece of land should be made available at a reasonable price and that the people concerned should not be compelled to purchase for all time.

Mr. Douglas:  The Senator has given exactly the type of case which I have envisaged, otherwise I do not see what you want a temporary acquisition of land for. I completely disagree with the point of view of the Senator. I have known cases where industries have required a piece of land for a temporary purpose—land which they will not require later on—particularly while there is a new factory being built. It seems to me that if a State board is going to use compulsion and say it requires the land for six months, they should buy it and sell it again later on. I should like the Minister to look into this provision before the Report Stage. I am not trying to make difficulties. I have put down my amendment as a supporter of the Bill. There may be similar provisions in a Turf Act, but the circumstances are different. This is a case where you want to start industries in the undeveloped areas. You have got to do that with the maximum of goodwill and fairness, and you certainly do not want to have anybody with a genuine grievance whose land was taken by compulsion for a period, and who has to take whatever might be given him for it. There is a point involved in my amendment which should not be passed over lightly.

Mr. Colgan:  If you want to get Senator's viewpoint is that he is opposed to land being taken temporarily?

Mr. Douglas:  I did not say that.

Mr. Colgan:  In effect, that is what it amounts to.

Mr. Douglas:  It is not.

Mr. Colgan:  If you want to get land temporarily by agreement invariably you will not get it at all. Unless there is power to acquire compulsorily, it is very rarely that people are prepared to sell. We have had that experience in the Dublin Corporation, who acquired land for building purposes, [530] but this is a different proposition altogether.

In the amendment it says:—

“Acquire any land either permanently or temporarily; if permanently, either by agreement or compulsorily; if temporarily, by agreement only.”

That, in effect, could mean that land might be wanted for six months or five years and the man who owned the land might say he was not prepared to sell it. That might hold up a whole scheme. In effect, the Senator wants that particular sub-section to read that land can only be acquired compulsorily.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  I think the Minister should consider this matter very carefully. I do not think that land will be taken temporarily by the board. I think the Minister is right in imagining that it is not likely that it will happen. If, by any chance, it were to happen, very considerable difficulties will arise, particularly if agreements cannot be reached as to the compensation which is to be awarded for the land. Compensation for the land acquired is assessed on the basis of a sale of land. If the board proceed to acquire land temporarily they will find themselves in the position that they will have to buy the land even though they may require it for temporary use only. They will be in the position that they will require the land temporarily but that they will have to pay as if they were acquiring it for permanent use. I think the Minister will have to have this matter considered. I agree that there may not be any necessity for this provision. I think it is wrong that a board should have the right to obtain by compulsory powers land which they require temporarily. Lest, however, the provision might have to be availed of and that land might have to be acquired temporarily, I think the matter should now be considered with a view to ensuring that the board would not find itself in a difficulty on the matter of compensation. If the claimant were to claim compensation in the ordinary way the arbitrator, under the Act on which he will assess the compensation, would have to assess it on the basis of the market value of the land.

[531]Mr. Loughman:  Take, for instance, the factory I spoke of earlier that was about to be erected. Suppose the bringing of a water supply to it by the most direct means meant bringing it across some person's land, or suppose the bringing of gravel or some such commodity from the nearest pit or even electric power meant bringing it across some person's land for that particular purpose. In actual fact, the people would not be using any of the land and yet they would have to pay a rent if they wished to avail of these amenities, as we may call them. So long as the board has the power to acquire land it is pretty certain that the owner of the land will agree to bargain, but if they have not that power then, for pure cussedness, a person may refuse to give his consent. I have a case in mind which makes me favour this proposal, though the circumstances are different. I know a farmer who lives less than 100 yards from a road but that 100 yards is part of a field which is owned by a relation of his. Because that man cannot get a passage through that field he has to travel three miles and ford a river in the most shocking circumstances. Somehow or other, there are not powers to compel the person who owns that piece of land to give his neighbour 15 yards of the 100 yards——

Mr. Baxter:  The Land Commission have powers in such a case.

Mr. Loughman:  If they have them, they do not exercise them. I think they have not got them. Try and get the Land Commission to exercise these powers. You will find that they are not there. The reason why I should like to see that clause in the Bill is that it will be an inducement, to put it mildly, to the person who owns the land to facilitate people. So long as the power is there it will never be necessary to use it, but if the power is not there in many cases they will not get the land.

Mr. O'Donnell:  I consider that continued interference with the freedom of the individual is tantamount to an entire usurpation of private rights and I view with apprehension the continuance [532] by the State of compulsory powers to deprive an individual of his private rights. We should view this matter seriously and consider it on the general principle that compulsory acquisition under any circumstances is not right.

Mr. Douglas:  The power suggested by Senator Loughman with regard to water rights and so forth can properly be exercised by the local authorities— even for temporary purposes, I believe. This is not a question of the general good. This is a question of acquiring land for the purpose of handing it over to a private company which it is hoped will operate for the general good. The purpose of this Bill is to encourage private persons or companies to develop areas in certain parts of Ireland. In order to encourage them, the Bill intends to give them certain preliminary facilities and help, both financial and otherwise. The Minister has made it clear that there is no intention—nor do I think there is anything in the Bill—of providing for permanent assistance or State ownership. In order to assist private persons to develop an industry, the powers of compulsion should be used only on very rare occasions—but where they are used they should be used to acquire a property for a price which, failing agreement, will be decided by arbitration. I do not think compulsory powers should be used to take property for a short time from a person. I consider that that is fundamentally bad, and may cause harm.

I think that the type of case mentioned by Senator Loughman is unlikely to occur. The answer is that, if a man will not lend a piece of land for three years, or whatever the period may be, and that that piece of land is absolutely essential, it can be bought from him and then resold later. There is a power, and I am certain the new board would exercise it, if it were absolutely essential. It is undesirable, however, that there should be compulsory acquisition for temporary purposes, and I think it is a flaw in this particular Bill. If the Minister will promise to look into this matter again before the Report Stage I will not press the amendment. I put it [533] down because I think a mistake was made.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not know why it is considered necessary to give power to acquire compulsorily for temporary purposes. One would think that if the power of compulsory acquisition were being utilised at all it would be for the purpose of obtaining permanent ownership. My feeling is that there is some legal reason for it and that you would weaken the power by the deletion of the word “temporarily”. I undertake to have the matter examined.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. S.T. Ruane:  I move amendment No. 6:—

In subsection (1), line 28, to add at the end of subparagraph (vi) the following: “Provided that in the disposal, by sale, of land vested in them under the powers of this Act, which is found not to be required for the purposes of the Act, the board shall give to the person from whom such land has been acquired, whether by agreement or otherwise, the option of repurchasing such land on repayment of the purchase price paid by the board together with the cost of any improvements executed on such land by the board.”

The object of this amendment is to ensure that land or other property acquired for a specific purpose will be utilised for that purpose and that in the event of the board's finding, after a lapse of time, that the purpose for which the property was acquired was not to be fulfilled, the person from whom the property was bought will have the option of taking it back at the price which was paid originally to him or her for it, together, of course, with any outlay expended by the board in the matter of improvement by way of drainage or fencing.

Certain property has sentimental value and no cash compensation would be considered adequate for its surrender. In the event, however, of land being required for an industry or any other amenity for the locality the owners would be slow to refuse to part with their property if it was considered a suitable site on which to erect an [534] industry. It has happened in the past that property has been acquired by local bodies for labourers' cottages or for cemetery accommodation and that though subsequently the property was not used it did not revert to the original owner. The property was purchased at a certain price—certainly less than the market value and less than what the owner would have got for it if he had put it up for sale on the market. The object of the amendment is to ensure that if any site or place is acquired for the purpose of the Act and is not utilised for that purpose, the original owner will get the option of taking it back, on repaying the price he secured for it, together with the money paid by the board in respect of drainage, fencing or other improvement.

Mr. Lemass:  That goes too far altogether. If the board acquires land or property by agreement, it should exercise the same rights of ownership in regard to it as any other owner. I do not think the board should be under any obligation, when disposing of it, to have regard to any prior claim whatever. The Senator is not talking solely about land acquired compulsorily; he is talking about land acquired by agreement as well, and I see no reason why we should attach any conditions to the disposal of any such land.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Will the Minister not agree that, in the case of land acquired compulsorily, the amendment is reasonable? If land is acquired compulsorily, we must assume that it is against the consent of the existing owner.

Mr. Lemass:  Not necessarily.

Mr. O'Higgins:  The Minister says that the board must have the same rights as any other owner, but remember that, if the land is acquired compulsorily, we are by this legislation seriously limiting the right of the existing owner who is forced to sell or dispose of the land to the board. Senator Ruane suggests in a perfectly reasonable way that, in such circumstances, if the board no longer requires the land, the person who lost the land [535] to the board should have the first option of getting it back.

Mr. Lemass:  The question of compulsorily acquisition usually arises when there is failure to agree about the price. It is not a question of reluctance to dispose of the land.

Mr. O'Higgins:  We cannot merely take what usually happens. We must try to look to the future and cover a variety of cases.

Mr. Lemass:  In my view, when the ownership of property passes from some individual to this board, it should pass without strings. Let us put in whatever provision is necessary to protect the rights of individuals, but once he has lost his property, he has lost it and the new owner should have the same rights in regard to it as any other owner.

Mr. O'Higgins:  He has, in fact, more rights because the present owner only has it with strings attached.

Mr. O'Donnell:  Surely if there is confiscation and land is compulsorily acquired by the State, even if it is acquired for the benefit of the community, there is a moral aspect to it, and surely it is the first duty of the State to return the land to the original owner if the land is not to be used for the purposes for which it was acquired.

Mr. Baxter:  The Minister ought to give consideration to at least portion of the amendment. Senator Ruane speaks as a Connacht man, and these are the areas with which the Minister is particularly concerned. He is more concerned about industry than he is about land, and he will not take it as any reflection on him when I say that he knows more about industry than about land and, I think, has more sympathy with it. I wish that he had as much sympathy with land as he has with industry, and we would make more progress, but that is an aside. It is important for the Minister to appreciate that, in Connacht, land is precious and that no man in Connacht thinks he has enough land.

Mr. Lemass:  Do not represent me as [536] going to put factories in every field in Connacht. I have no such intention.

Mr. Baxter:  I hope you intend to put factories in some places. There may be somebody with five or six acres adjacent to a small town. An acre or half an acre is terribly precious to these people and of very great value— of much more value from the point of view of what they have to exploit than an acre anywhere in Leinster is. From the money point of view, that land may not command as high a figure on the market, and yet the probabilities are that there are places in Connacht where you will pay as much for an acre of land as you will pay in the Golden Vale, in Limerick, Meath or north Kildare. If a man freely consents to sell and there is agreement about price, the man has abandoned even whatever sentimental feelings he has about parting with his property, but if you exercise compulsory powers and acquire a portion of a man's farm—and that farm may be very small—and after a time find yourself in the position that you can relinquish that property, I believe that, in justice, on the economics of it, the first person who should get the opportunity to purchase it is the individual from whom it was taken originally.

Mr. Lemass:  What the Senator is proposing is that he retains a right to it, and the board cannot give a clear title to that land until all the legal arguments as to who is the successor in title to this individual have been settled. It would be an impossible string to attach.

Mr. O. Higgins:  The board must get a proper title to get possession.

Mr. Lemass:  It cannot give a proper title if this amendment is put in.

Mr. Baxter:  That amendment will only operate when the board are again going to part with their property.

Mr. S.T. Ruane:  I suggest that this amendment does not in any way interfere with the benefits which this legislation is designed to bring about. I only want the amendment accepted in respect of cases in which the property or site acquired is not needed for the purpose for which it was acquired.

[537]Mr. Lemass:  That is not what is set out in it.

Mr. S.T. Ruane:  To ensure that the original owner will get the option of taking it back.

Mr. P. O'Reilly:  I do not propose to argue the merits of the amendment. Senator Ruane envisages land acquired by the board being improved, because he makes provision for that in his amendment, but he does not envisage a position in which the land would be disimproved, and in that sense the amendment is scarcely complete. I suggest that the land acquired could be disimproved.

Mr. Lemass:  By some process under this Bill, the board comes into possession of land and, at a later stage, because the enterprise they were prepared to help did not develop or failed, or because they acquired more than they needed or for some other reason, they wish to dispose of that property again. I want to see a position in which the board will be able to dispose of it to the best advantage and every string you attach to that property reduces the possibility of their disposing of it in that way. This would be a string which would be bound to produce complications because the question as to whether in fact the option of repurchasing the land was available to somebody, who that person should be and all the circumstances attached to it would be bound to lead to innumerable legal arguments and make it impossible for the board to dispose of the property with clear title. It would be completely unreasonable to put that condition in as a statutory obligation on the board. In the normal course of events, a board of this kind having acquired property in an area which it subsequently wanted to dispose of would probably find difficulty in disposing of it rather than any competition for it, and in that case would be very glad if the original seller of the property would reappear as a purchaser, but if there is a possibility of selling to better advantage to somebody else, they should have the right to do so.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Surely the Minister will admit that it is only common [538] justice that the board should not seek to make a profit out of a transaction such as the compulsory acquisition of land which they find they do not require for the purpose of the Act? It is only in these circumstances that Senator Ruane suggests that the person from whom the land was acquired should be given the opportunity of getting it back.

Mr. Lemass:  That is possibly what he intended, but it is not what is in his amendment—“any land acquired by the board of which they want to dispose, whether by agreement or compulsorily acquired.”

Mr. O'Higgins:  That is true; I should not have limited it to compulsory acquisition. The rest of what I said, however, is perfectly true. It only applies to land which is found not to be required for the purposes of the Act, and at least in cases where that acquisition is compulsory it is only ordinary justice, to my mind, that the person from whom the land was acquired should be given the opportunity of getting it back. It would be outrageous if the board were to accept the Minister's opinion that, instead of doing that, they should seek to sell it to the best advantage and, if possible, at a profit.

Mr. Lemass:  When any State organisation is disposing of property, it must seek to do so to the best advantage. They could not possibly risk any other situation.

Mr. Yeats:  I am inclined to support the principle of this amendment, in so far as it relates to the sale of lands which were originally acquired. There is one point of difficulty. It might be difficult to find the original owner from whom the land was compulsorily acquired by An Foras Tionscal. The person might be dead and, as often happens, may have died intestate, leaving a dozen or more next-of-kin in America. It would be exceedingly difficult to trace them and all would have to be traced to give them the option. In many cases it might be impossible to dispose of the land at all on that account, and that reason is sufficient for not supporting this amendment.

[539]Mr. Douglas:  Senator Yeats visualises the board giving assistance to an industry for a period of time in which there could be children and grandchildren.

Mr. Lemass:  No, no, but the property could remain in the possession of the board for that length of time.

Mr. Douglas:  He apparently has that in mind. I was not visualising that the board was going to hold property for letting. I assumed that compulsory acquisition would be for the purpose of enabling the industry to take over the land or property and pay for it with whatever assistance might be considered; and that once the board had sold it to the industry concerned, the State or State board was finished with it.

The only case where any point could arise—quite frankly, I see legal difficulties in carrying it out, though this point could be something which would be a fair guidance for the board—is that where they have taken over property and find they have no use for it for an industry, before offering it to someone else they should find out whether the original owner required it. I imagine most people would do that, as he would be the most likely person to take it, particularly as compulsion was involved. As a matter of justice, the principle is perfectly correct, but I think it could give rise to confusion if this board is going to take over land compulsorily and then let it to an industry. If that is going to occur, it is most risky, as this Act will last only until 1958, and there is no guarantee that the board will continue any further. Therefore, I suggest it is highly undesirable that land should be acquired for letting. It should be taken over and given to the particular industry and, if that industry fails, it can then be sold as part and parcel of the whole property. It would be improper for any new industry to allow itself to be tied in any way in regard to the power of disposal of the property, as the business might be sold as a going concern.

Mr. Baxter:  The Minister's attitude is that if this new board get possession of lands which they later [540] discover they do not require for the original purpose, they ought to be free to sell those lands to the highest bidder—in other words, to make the most out of them. In any area where there is going to be exploitation, surely there will be people with considerable means who will be able to buy up such land. The case may arise where land is compulsorily acquired from some poor person and the authority then decides the land is not needed and is to be put on the market. That poor person may not be able to go into the open market and buy the land back, and some wealthy person in the locality may acquire it. We know that has been common all over Connaught, as wealthy businessmen or big farmers have bought out land, to the detriment of people with smaller holdings. That is likely to take place also under this Bill. In order to safeguard that position and see that justice will be done, Senator Ruane has put down this amendment. I think he should withdraw it and put in an amended version which would make this apply only where land is acquired compulsorily. It would be inequitable that a portion taken from a small farmer could pass into the hands of somebody in possession of 100 acres who had money to burn and who could pay a price that the original owner could not pay in the open market.

Mr. Lemass:  It is a far-fetched picture.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed: “That Section 5 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Baxter:  I would like some clarification of the section. I want to know how this board will function in relation to existing authorities who will have to play some part in the establishment of these new industries. Presumably, there will first be a proposition to establish a new industry and that will be studied by the Department officials. They may approve of it. Then there is to be further study by the board. Even though the board may decide to give it financial assistance, I imagine that it will not be possible to go ahead [541] unless the promoters are prepared to borrow from some lending house— from, let us take it, the Industrial Credit Corporation. What sort of contact will there be between the new board and such a corporation, to co-ordinate their efforts? I can conceive a situation arising where a group of people may provide a certain sum of money and An Foras Tionscal may be prepared to do something more and then the whole proposition may be hamstrung if they cannot find additional capital. I am trying to find out exactly how this machinery will work. Will there be discussions between An Foras Tionscal and the Industrial Credit Corporation or will these bodies be working in water-tight compartments without that sort of discussion which is absolutely essential if any real work is to be done? I would like to know what is in the Minister's mind as to how the machinery will operate when it has been set in motion. Unless there is co-ordination on these points, many of the schemes may be still-born and that would be unfortunate and would discourage people.

Mr. Lemass:  Senator Baxter is looking for something I cannot give him. The best effort I can make is to say that any group proposing to establish an industry west of the Shannon with aid under this Bill will, in respect of every other State organisation or every other form of State aid to industrial development, be in the same position as if it were being established in Dublin. The function of An Foras Tionscal will be to offset any disadvantage arising from the location of the industry west of the Shannon. When any proposition comes before it, it will assess what that disadvantage is, if any. If it decides there is disadvantage it will say that, to enable the industry to meet such competition from other industries, the board is prepared to give help in one or other of the forms set out in the Bill. Now, having got that undertaking, the people who are promoting the concern will have to get the other things necessary to keep it going such as technical management, financial resources, the delivery of equipment, access to raw materials, [542] etc. If the group are in the position that in order to get the full finances required they have to get an issue of shares underwritten by the Industrial Credit Company, presumably they will go to the Industrial Credit Company and negotiate for an underwriting contract, using as one of the arguments, as no doubt they will, that the proposition has been approved by An Foras Tionscal and that An Foras Tionscal has agreed, if it is started, to give help of a definite kind.

These are things which have to be disposed of in the case of every industrial proposition, no matter where it is located. If the people promoting a particular undertaking are not in a position to finance it out of their own resources, they have to go to others who have got the resources in order to supplement what they can put in. In doing so, they will no doubt give them all the information that is required about the concern. If it is a concern which is to be located west of the Shannon, one of the points of information especially required will be whether An Foras Tionscal has approved of it and the first approach would be to An Foras Tionscal.

Question put and agreed to.


Question proposed: “That Section 6 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Hartnett:  I hope I am in order in making a suggestion with regard to Section 6. It has been conceded even by the Minister himself in the Dáil that An Foras Tionscal is unlikely to bring about any economic amelioration in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas. I think it is certainly the sense of this House that it is desirable that as expeditiously as possible industrial enterprises should be established in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas. As the Bill stands, when industries are set up with the aid of An Foras Tionscal they will probably be set up in Galway, Dingle and other big centres. Obviously, if an industry is to be set up in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht the person concerned will require additional incentives to those given in the Bill. I suggest that the Minister might consider amending Section 6 at a later stage so as to provide that subsection [543] (2), which now reads: “The total amount so granted shall not in any case exceed one half of the cost of machinery or equipment provided,” be amended to provide that where the special circumstances of a Fíor-Ghaeltacht area so warrant the whole cost of the machinery or equipment may be provided by An Foras Tionscal. That would give additional incentives to people in the Gaeltacht themselves who might have a very good idea of which the board would approve.

In the Fíor-Ghaeltacht parishes themselves there is practically nobody with sufficient capital to put up to pay for half the machinery or equipment for any industry however small.

I put this to the Minister as warmly as I can, because he made a statement in the other House when pressure was brought to bear upon him by most Parties, and I think what he meant was that the industrialisation of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas should not be undertaken. I think that is a peculiarly poisonous doctrine, and one which has resulted already in isolating the Gaeltacht and turning it into a bear-pit. Accordingly, I am sure the Minister has in mind, or the Government have in mind, or may have in mind, the development of some State enterprises for the regeneration of the Gaeltacht areas, for the economic improvement of the areas. If they have not, or even if they have, I think opportunity should be taken in this Bill to provide incentives along the lines which I have indicated. I ask the Minister to give that his most sympathetic consideration.

Mr. Lemass:  The Senator appreciates, of course, that we are dealing here with industrial development by private enterprise. I do not want to go into the general question of the economic development of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, because my views on that may be regarded as controversial by some people. But, where you are dealing with the possibility of development by private enterprise, you have to think not merely of the establishment of a factory, but of its continued operation, and I do not believe it would be wise to encourage the establishment [544] by private groups of factories unless these groups themselves have a substantial financial interest in the undertakings. That is why it was decided as desirable to keep a limit in every case to the help given so that there would be a substantial risk undertaken by those who not merely start the enterprise but take on the responsibility of carrying it on. That would apply no matter in what part of the area it was located, whether in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht or otherwise. Unless the people themselves have the intention to continue from day to day, the thing will not work.

My belief is that, apart from industries which would have some special reason for going into these districts, the ordinary type of industry operated by private enterprise will not be attracted into the outlying districts. I do not think we can succeed in that. If we can get, over the West of Ireland generally, in the towns and villages, suitable factories operating, I think we will have done fairly well without thinking of the most isolated areas, and that if we succeed at all in getting into the isolated areas, it will be because there is some special advantage, some local resources or facility of some kind. In that case, of course, there would not be the same need for financial help except to get the industry started.

However, what the Senator suggests raises a big issue: whether we should give greater help to industries in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht than in other parts of the Gaeltacht or congested areas. I hesitate to decide that issue in this Bill. But, of course, if there is any general plan involving legislation for the economic development of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, there will be nothing in this Bill which will preclude whatever authority will be responsible for its administration from giving supplementary help to any enterprise or any firm undertaking economic activity there.

Question put and agreed to.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.


Mr. Douglas:  I move amendment No. 7:—

[545] In page 4, lines 14 to 17, to delete sub-section (3).

I have put down this amendment to delete the sub-section, but I have some difficulty in fully debating it because I am not able to guess what the Minister's object was when he included it in the Bill. It seems to me to be impracticable and almost impossible to carry out. It will add to the difficulties of the board, and at best it does not seem to be necessary. I should say that I am in entire agreement with the desirability of giving assistance or grants so as to provide for the adequate training of workers, but I am not quite sure that the best method of doing that is to confine the powers of the board simply to the repayment of wages.

The conditions of industries vary enormously. The time-content of a particular article is quite small in some cases, while in other cases it may be as much as 75 per cent. Consequently, by paying wages in one case you may be giving very substantial assistance, while, in the other case, you may be giving relatively small assistance. I think the real compensation which it is desirable to provide is that during the period of training the company will be compensated for the loss in the prices of the articles which they produce that add to the cost of wages, in some cases where the workers have to be trained outside the country. That would seem to me to be a really better method than the one which the Minister has adopted, the method by which there may now be a payment which will not exceed the actual amount of the wages. That method cripples the board by saying that those wages must not be “in excess of the normal trade union rates applicable to a learner in similar employment in the same or a comparable area”. Now, it will rarely be in the same area, and a comparable area will be extremely difficult to find.

From such experience as I have, trade union learners' rates are, I think, very low because they are entirely intended for young boys and girls for training purposes. Again, I would say that cases will vary. It should be possible to take adults, in the first instance, and train them, but to say that they are not to be compensated [546] at a greater rate than the nearest applicable learner's rate — that is if you can find it — seems to me to be absurd. It would also seem to me to cripple the board. It is agreed, I think, on all sides that the board must have a very wide discretion. If you adopt the principle that the board must have a discretion, and if that principle is to be limited to the payment of such wages as the Minister thinks is quite suffcient, then, I think, the Bill would be much better without sub-section (3) at all. The board, certainly, should have the power to give adequate compensation.

The adequate training of workers in nearly every industry is extremely important. The Minister has very properly emphasised that he wants these industries to be made permanent. I think that adequate assistance should be given for the full and proper training of workers. I think it is true to say that the goods produced during the early period will not all be sold to the public at the price of first-quality goods but rather as seconds or partly faulty goods. If what I suggest is done it will not only help to establish an industry, but will prevent the sort of prejudice that occasionally arises because of the fact that every new industry must have certain difficulties to contend with. You cannot expect in the early period the same degree of efficiency that should be achieved later. From almost every point of view I suggest to the Minister that the Bill would be much better without sub-section (3).

Mr. Lemass:  Sub-section (2) limits the amount of help that can be given under this section to the actual amount paid. Sub-section (3) is designed to ensure that the board will not, even by implication, influence the wage rates of the industry concerned; in other words, the board will be limited to paying on the basis of the appropriate trade union rate.

Mr. Douglas:  For learners?

Mr. Lemass:  It says the appropriate trade union rate for people who are learning a trade, whatever that rate may be. It is thought undesirable that the board should be required to [547] bargain as to what the rate of wages for these people should be and that they should instead be required to adopt the appropriate trade union rate, pay that and no more. If there is any alteration of these rates, that will be a matter for negotiation between the trade union and the employers concerned and the board will have nothing to do with it. Whatever rate is fixed by negotiation will be the rate for the job as far as the board is concerned. If the board were given a free hand in that respect they would in individual cases find themselves in the position of discussing what the rate should be and they would, therefore, enter into the picture of wage negotiations in which they should really play no part.

Mr. Douglas:  This is wholly a matter for the Minister. I am not making an issue out of it and I do not want to press it. But the Minister has not quite convinced me. The payment is the grant. The grant does not have to be the wages and the board will not be committed. It cannot exceed the trade union rate.

Mr. Lemass:  It cannot exceed; that is quite right.

Mr. Douglas:  In calculating the rate of wages actually paid it cannot exceed the trade union rate in a similar or comparable area. If the rate is that agreed upon with the trade union in the district, then I would have no objection though I would think it unnecessary. In the case of a new industry there may not be a trade union. There may be some period before it comes into operation. There is almost certain to be some period before complete rates are agreed upon and I am pointing out that learners' rates should not be the rates payable to adults. I do not want to cripple the board by confining it too rigidly under a section of this kind. I admit that my knowledge of learners' rates is somewhat limited but such rates are invariably based on the rate suitable for a juvenile who has come to work with a particular adult for a period of two or three years. Technically, they may not be apprentices, but they are [548] learners. The position in this case is quite different because of the training of new workers who have no training at all. I sympathise with the Minister because I am in a similar position myself; I do not know what particular type of industry I am discussing.

Mr. Lemass:  And when this matter will be under discussion there will be nothing in existence at all. There will merely be an idea which a group is putting forward to An Foras Tionscal for discussion with that body and I do not want An Foras Tionscal to spend time discussing with such a group the rate of wages they will pay. I want the board free to agree that they will pay all or half or some proportion of the wages to the workers while they are being trained. The actual rate of wage appropriate to the job will be that fixed in private negotiations between the employers and the trade unions concerned. I do not want An Foras Tionscal to be, as it were, bargaining on the rate of wages to be paid. I do not think they should, even by implication, come into the picture at all in the determination of wages.

Mr. Douglas:  I accept that, but I think this section makes them come in because, before they can agree to make payment, they must ascertain—and they are the people who have to make the decision — what the learner's rate for a similar or comparable area is. I would be better satisfied if the board could say: “We will pay you the losses on your invoices for a year or so.” Because of the Act they cannot exceed the actual wages paid and I think that would be the most practicable method of really compensating during the training period.

The training period is very important. I remember some years ago discussing this matter with an American firm. They had a somewhat exaggerated idea since they wanted 50 per cent., which they called a surplus, on their capital; that was what they estimated they would lose in selling their goods cheaply until such time as they reached full efficiency. I admit that is an exaggeration, but the principle is right. If Irish industry wants to do [549] well it must try to overcome the period during which the products are not fully up to standard. The best way to do that is to sell the goods very cheaply until they are fully effective and satisfactory. That is the kind of assistance that I think would be very valuable.

I appreciate that it must be limited, and under sub-section (2) it is limited to the actual wages paid. When one comes to the next step I think there will be a horrible amount of negotiation and argument as to what should be the appropriate learner's rate. The learner's rate everywhere is less than that paid to the adult. West of the Shannon I believe they will have to train some adults.

Mr. Lemass:  I think you would have more trouble without such a limitation because, without such a limitation, the board would be compelled to discuss with the promoters the appropriate rate of wages and, perhaps, even to the extent of bargaining with them with a view to giving either more or less under the section. Remember, I am trying to protect the board by putting in this limitation that it is the trade union rate for that industry which is the appropriate rate. That is the limit to which they can go.

Mr. Douglas:  But it is not the trade union rate for that industry. I appeal to the Minister to read the section. If it was the trade union rate I would have no objection. It clearly stipulates here that it is the trade union rate applicable to a learner in similar employment in the same or a comparable area.

Mr. Lemass:  Many trade unions provide for differential rates in rural areas as compared with city areas. The appropriate rate for rural areas would apply in this case.

Mr. Douglas:  I do not know of a single case — there may be some — where they make a distinction between an adult learner and a juvenile learner. Learner rates are nearly always fixed for juveniles. I appeal to the Minister to examine this in order to find out whether or not he is making it too tight. I accept the principle that the [550] trade union rates should apply. That is both reasonable and proper.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not want the board to have any function in fixing the level of trade union rates.

Mr. Douglas:  Would the case be, then, that if a new company agreed to pay a certain rate in a district for the training of so many learners, there would be no trade union in most cases? The learner's rate will not want to be too high or the company will not want to pay it, because they will think that the learner's rate is fixed.

Mr. Lemass:  It may be that the actual rates will be higher than the rates offset by grants under this section. It may be said that the decision of the board will not be to grant the full amount. Of course, that will depend on the circumstances in individual cases. There are many trades where a green labour rate is paid. This is lower than the rate payable after a certain period in the industry. In other cases it is not unusual to have a time rate which develops into a piece rate later on, the time rate being considered to be more advantageous to the workers while learning than a piece rate.

Mr. Douglas:  I do not want to press this point, but I think the Minister would be well advised to change this and to provide that it will not exceed the actual trade union rates where such exist.

Mr. Lemass:  I think that is what is in the section.

Mr. Douglas:  I do not think it is.

Mr. P. O'Reilly:  It might happen that there would be a great deal of adult labour in an area and that this adult labour would not be employed. Two pounds per week might be the trade union rate for learners and a factory could not take on adults at £2 per week. Therefore, the adults in question would be left unemployed. Neither could a factory hope to take on adults at £6 per week which is the adult trained rate. Senator Douglas wants the board to have discretion to fix a rate with the factory if it happens under local conditions [551] that you have to do so. It appears fairly obvious to me that the comparable rate must be for juvenile learners. You do not usually hear of an industry having adult learners.

Mr. Loughman:  In Carrick-on-Suir recently an industry was started, and it was all adults who came along to be trained.

Mr. Douglas:  A new industry?

Mr. Loughman:  Yes. There may be adult learners in a new industry, not so in an old industry.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Agreed that Sections 7 and 8 stand part of the Bill.


Mr. Douglas:  I move amendment No. 8:—

In page 4, lines 40 to 43, to delete sub-section (4).

I have put down this amendment to delete sub-section (4) because I feel that the section as it stands is undesirable. It refers, in the first instance, to the possibility that a new industry will not keep the terms to which it has agreed. I cannot see anything, either in the Bill or in the Minister's speech, to provide for terms unless it be the payment of rent or some other normal arrangement in connection with the industry. If the company fail to pay rent, it seems to me to be completely absurd to be actually punishing them by means of forcing them to pay rates of which they thought they were going to be freed. That is one objection but, perhaps, a more serious objection to my mind to this sub-section is that I think it is completely out of place if I understand the Bill correctly.

Perhaps I made a mistake. Does not the board understand that the rates will be remitted? That seems to me under the Bill one of the things which local authorities can do to encourage the formation of an industry. The local authority, having agreed to remit rates for a certain period, can be told by the board, according to some entirely mysterious terms under this Bill, that they must [552] now collect the rates. I do not think it should be a function of the board to come to the local authority and order them to collect the rates. This is meant to be as a means of punishment but, whatever object it is meant to attain, I think it is a highly undesirable principle, and I wonder how it got into the Bill. The Bill would be better off without it.

Mr. Lemass:  The Bill, as introduced, did not contain it. It provided only for a decision by a local authority to grant a remission of rates in respect of premises for a period of years. Subsequently, my colleague, the Minister for Local Government, detected what he thought was a flaw in the section in so far as there was a possibility that the premises, although intended for industrial purposes, might, after a number of years, be used for some other purpose, in which case the remission of rates given by the local authority to encourage industrial development would be discontinued. It is possible to conceive a factory built to facilitate some industrial development being converted, after a period of time, into a dance hall. If that happens the local authority should not be bound by its decision to grant a rates remission in order to promote an industry and, in such circumstances, the remission could be withdrawn.

The purpose of the sub-section, therefore, is to provide means by which the local authority could be released from its obligation to grant a remission of rates, if, in fact, the premises were not being used for the purposes for which they were constructed.

Mr. Douglas:  I cannot compliment the draftsman if that is the purpose. The section applies to premises certified by the board to have been provided for an industrial undertaking in an undeveloped area. That procedure is absolutely correct. If the board ceases to certify the premises as being used for an industrial undertaking then the remission of rates should stop.

If that is the position, why not say so? The section refers to the terms upon which the premises were provided. [553] It places it on the board to say that the terms were broken. Then the remission of rates ceases to have effect in the particular local financial year. That might be at the end of the year so certified. I suggest it would be very easy to put right what is required in accordance with the Minister's statement. I suggest that the remission of rates shall continue, subject of course to the nine years, for as long as the board shall certify the premises to be used for an industrial undertaking. That would mean that if the premises ceased to be used for such an industrial undertaking in the middle of the year half rates could be charged.

Mr. Lemass:  That would be going too far. In this case, we are attempting to make a decision for the local authority. The local authority will receive an application for the remission of rates under this section, which merely empowers it to grant such remission. Its decision will be influenced very largely by the value of the particular industry, the nature of its activities, and the type of employment that is to be given. Should there be a change in that regard, then the local authority should not be bound to abide by the original decision to grant a remission of rates. It should have power to reconsider the decision should it want to do so. The conversion of a factory into a dance hall might be an unlikely event, but the conversion of a factory from one industrial purpose to another is by no means unlikely. If there is a complete change in the type of industry carried on in a premises, the local authority should have the right to reconsider its dicision.

Mr. Douglas:  I do not think they have the right under this section. Although I sympathise with the Minister's point, it seems to me that the local authority have no choice but to collect the rates if the board so certify. If the decision were left to the local authority, I would not object. The remission of rates is something which is the local authority's contribution towards the encouragement of a factory. I think it should be left to them.

[554]Mr. Hearne:  Is it not clear from sub-section (2) of Section 9 that local authorities may, if they think fit, remit two-thirds of the rates even if the board have given the certificate referred to? In sub-section (1) a local authority may refuse to grant remission.

Mr. Douglas:  They must withdraw it under sub-section (3) if the board so certifies.

Mr. Hearne:  The point is that a local authority has power under Section 9 to remit two-thirds of the rates for nine years if they so think fit. There is only one condition, and that is, that the board must certify that the undertaking provided terms certified by the board for an industrial undertaking in an undeveloped area. I do not speak as a lawyer, but I am trying to get the intention behind this. Certainly, as I read it, the intention is to ensure that if a factory either ceases to be a factory or has turned over to a different type of industrial undertaking which might not be as suitable or as beneficial to the area as the first one, that the local authority should be expected——

Mr. Douglas:  Must.

Mr. Hearne:  Must, if the board so certifies. I think that is reasonable enough. Is it not perfectly clear that when the board certifies that the undertaking has failed to observe the terms — again I am in complete darkness as to what these terms might be——

Mr. Baxter:  So is everybody else.

Mr. Hearne:  I have listened to the discussion on the Second Reading and to certain points raised to-day and there is general agreement that the powers of the board must be extremely flexible; otherwise the Bill will be no use at all.

Mr. O'Higgins:  I want to make the point that Senator Douglas made the last time he spoke in relation to what the Minister stated is the intention of this sub-section or, rather, the various sub-sections of this section. I think it is quite clear that sub-section (4) runs [555] definitely counter to what the Minister understood to be the original purpose of it——

Mr. Lemass:  Oh, no!

Mr. O'Higgins:  ——and having regard to that I suggest that he should consider it. I think the Minister said to the House that the intention was that the local authority would have an opportunity of reviewing and reconsidering the matter if the board certified that the terms——

Mr. Lemass:  And the local authority will go to the board and ask them for the certificate.

Mr. O'Higgins:  The point is that under sub-section (4) the local authority does not get an opportunity to review or reconsider. The rates remission automatically ceases for that particular financial year without any further consideration of the matter by the local authority.

Mr. Lemass:  Either An Foras Tionscal has come to the conclusion that the premises are not being used for industrial purposes at all, in which case they so certify and release the county council of its obligation, or else the local authority says: “This is a different proposition from that for which we bargained and we should ask the board to look at the position and consider whether they will certify.” I think this is all right as it stands. The only doubt in my mind is as to whether the reference to terms is not too wide in so far as it will give the board power to certify merely if the undertaking failed to pay the rent or in some other way defaulted in its contract with them. Even there I would be in favour of leaving it as it is because the wider the powers the board has the less likelihood there is of abuse.

Mr. Baxter:  I have only come in for part of the discussion but I think, in the first place, it would be a curious situation to imagine the board making a recommendation in regard to the remission of rates and the local authority deciding it should continue. The [556] local authority would be the people losing by the undertaking not having to contribute to the relief of local taxation. It would be a strange situation if you found yourself in the position that the board would decide that the undertaking should pay the rates because of some reason which is not stated here. Quite frankly I must confess that I had not the remotest idea what might be the conditions under which a decision like that would be forced upon the board until I heard the Minister illustrate what might take place. I think that that point ought to be cleared up.

A particular point I want to make is this: I really do not think that the local authority — and I speak as a member of a local authority, as are Senator Hearne and many others who are here — ought to be put into the position of having to take a decision contrary to their own judgment and compel an undertaking to pay rates when in their judgment locally there might be a conflict on this. They might feel that the original undertaking might not have been adhered to. Some change might have taken place in the scheme of things which might have been a breach of the original undertaking but from the point of view of the local people it was a desirable development. It is quite conceivable that you could have some situation like that developing. At least, from what the Minister has said, that is a possibility. Certainly I do not think a local authority ought to be put into the position of having to compel an undertaking within its jurisdiction to pay rates when they, in their own judgment, were prepared to forgive them the rates. Local authorities are jealous of their powers and they have a certain local pride and local patriotism which it is wise to develop and cultivate. I feel it is not the way to proceed to give a direction like that to local authorities and insist, against their own knowledge and better judgment, that they must levy rates when they might be disposed to forgive the rates. You ought not to give that power to the board.

In any event the sub-section as it is is not at all clear, and I would suggest to the Minister that it would be wise [557] for him to reconsider it and get into more specific terms what exactly the meaning of the sub-section is. He has given an example of what might take place and that will be on the record. I am not a lawyer but heaven help the lawyer who would try to find out what would be the meaning of that sub-section.

Mr. Lemass:  I think the last situation is one in which local authorities would always try to get as much as they could in rates. A local authority cannot give a remission of rates unless it is empowered by law to do so. I think it would be a very undesirable position, if a factory premises built by Foras Tionscal under this Bill were afterwards converted into a dance-hall, that the local authority could give a remission of rates for that dance-hall and for no other dance-hall. Similarly, if the premises were converted to some other purpose for which a remission of rates would not be permissible, it would be undesirable that a remission of rates should be allowed merely because the premises had been built by Foras Tionscal under this Bill. That is why I think that, from the point of view of the Minister for Local Government, the concession of remission of rates should be granted to premises provided under this Bill only so long as they are used for the purposes for which they were originally intended.

Mr. Douglas:  The Minister adopted two distinct lines of argument. With the first, I am in complete agreement. With the second, in which I think there is a principle involved, I totally disagree. He first of all said that where there has been a change in the character of the undertaking, the local authority should be quite free to withdraw the remission of rates. With that, I am 100 per cent. in agreement. I think the proper way to deal with a situation of that kind is that the board should certify that the premises were no longer being used for the purposes for which they were intended and that they were not prepared to recommend any further remissions of rates.

In speaking previously, the Minister said that he was not quite sure of the [558] meaning of “terms” but that he thought it probably would be a good thing if this provision could be used to enforce certain claims such, for instance, as would arise in cases of non-payment of rent. I completely disagree with him there. I do not believe that it is desirable that the board should have power to enforce the payment of rent by certifying to the local authority that the undertaking had defaulted in the payment of rent, with a view to having the remission of rates withdrawn. There may be other ways by which they should exercise that power but not by this method.

If you read sub-section (4) you will find that “if in any local financial year the board certify that the undertaking has failed to observe the terms upon which the premises were provided, the remission shall not have effect in respect of that local financial year.” That is going backwards. It means that while the company, in making out their budget, will have assumed that they will not have to pay more than one-third of the rates, if they have a dispute with the board over certain terms and the board— probably quite correctly — objects and certifies to the local authority that the company has not observed the terms upon which the premises were provided, the company then finds that they are called upon to pay three times the amount of the rates for which they had budgeted. For a small industry it may not be a very big sum but for substantial industries two-thirds of the rates would be quite a big sum. I think the principle is wrong and that the section needs adjustment. At first I thought that the Minister merely wanted to guard against any change in the character of the premises by giving the local authority power to withdraw the remission of rates in such circumstances but I found afterwards that he wanted the words in the section so that, if there was any breach of the terms, the company could be punished by the withdrawal of the remission of rates which they had previously been granted. I press the amendment for that reason.

[559]Mr. Baxter:  I think the Minister should reconsider this section.

[560]Mr. Lemass:  I think it is quite all right.

Amendment put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 18; Níl, 22.


Baxter, Patrick F.
Burke, Denis.
Butler, John.
Commons, Bernard.
Douglas, James G.
Hayes, Michael.
McCrea, James J.
McFadden, Míchéal Óg.
McGuire, Edward A.
McHugh, Vincent.
Meighan, John J.
O'Brien, George.
O'Donnell, Frank H.
O'Donovan, Timothy J.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Reilly, Patrick F.
Ruane, Seán T.
Tunney, James.


Aghas, Pádraig.
Clarkin, Andrew S.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Hartney, Seán.
Hayes, Seán.
Hearne, Michael.
Honan, Thomas V.
Kilroy, James.
Loughman, Frank.
Lynch, James B.
Lynch, Peter T.
McMullen, William.
Nic Phíaraís, Maighréad M.
Ó Ciosáin, Éamon.
Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
Ua Guilidhe, Seán.
O'Reilly, Patrick.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
O Siocfhradha, Pádraig.
Quirke, William.
Ruane, Thomas.
Yeats, Michael B.

Tellers:— Tá: Senators S.T. Ruane and O'Higgins; Níl: Senators Kissane and Loughman.

Amendment declared lost.

Question—“That Section 9 stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.

Sections 10 to 13 inclusive, agreed to.


Mr. O'Higgins:  I move amendment No. 9:—

Before Section 14 to insert a new section as follows:—

Every Order made by the Minister under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling such Order is passed by either such House within the next subsequent 21 days on which such House has sat after such Order is laid before it, such Order shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to anything previously done under such Order.

This amendment is designed to provide that any Orders made by the Minister under this Bill will be brought in this manner before each House of the Oireachtas, and that an opportunity will exist in the legislation when it has been passed through the Oireachtas for Deputies or Senators who wish to review any such Orders to do so. I believe that this amendment is one which appears in most Acts which provide for ministerial Orders, and I do not think that the Minister can have any serious objection to it. An earlier amendment suggested that power to extend the scope of this legislation by adding new areas should lie with the Houses of the Oireachtas rather than with the Minister. That amendment was resisted by the Minister and defeated, but I think that the present amendment is one to which the Minister cannot object in the same way. It does not interfere with the right which has been granted to him already by this House and by the Dáil to make orders extending the scope of the legislation, but it does suggest that every Order made by him should be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and that within the time prescribed in the amendment members of the Oireachtas may by resolution seek to annul that Order should they think fit.

As I said on an earlier amendment, I think that the practice of legislating by ministerial Order is definitely an objectionable one. It is one to which I object as a matter of principle.

[561] I believe that the principle of ministerial Orders should be curbed rather than extended. I think that in the last few years most of the legislation which was passed by the Dáil and Seanad, in so far as it contained provision for ministerial Orders, also contained this safeguard for the Oireachtas, that any member of the Oireachtas could, by resolution — 21 days, as suggested in this amendment — move to have that Order annulled and could thereby take the opportunity of discussing and reviewing the Order made by the Minister.

As I mentioned in connection with the earlier amendment, members of the Seanad should be particularly anxious to ensure that some such provision as is suggested in the amendment is incorporated in this Bill or in any Bill which provides for ministerial Orders.

In this House we have not got the same right as Deputies in the Dáil have to elicit information regarding the board, for instance, which is to be set up under this Act or any other provision in the Act. Once the Act is passed through this House that is the end of it as far as we are concerned. We can get no further information about it. We cannot even inquire as to how the functions of the board are being administered. We can have no say, good, bad or indifferent, unless this amendment is accepted with regard to the extension of the scope of the Act. For that reason, I strongly urge the House to insist on the provision of this particular safeguard in the Bill. I hope it will not be necessary to ask the House to insist, because the Minister should accept this amendment. If the Minister does not accept it, there must be some reason against it. There must be some reason why the Minister wants to avoid bringing Orders made by him before the Dáil and the Seanad. I cannot think of any conceivable reason why the Minister should want to avoid doing so. Consequently, I have some hope—I will not go so far as to say confidence — that the Minister will agree to accept amendment No. 9.

Mr. Lemass:  I hope to persuade the Seanad not to accept this amendment. As Senator O'Higgins has said, there [562] must be some reason for taking that attitude towards it. I hope to convince the Seanad that it is a good reason. It is true that a provision of this kind has appeared in many other statutes which gave powers to Ministers to do things by Order. It is, I think, desirable that this power of annulment should be possessed by Houses of the Oireachtas where Ministers, under statutes, may take action, by Order, which has the effect of imposing continuing obligations or disadvantages on citizens. That is not the type of case we are dealing with here, however, and the mere fact that a similar provision has appeared in other enactments is not in itself an argument in favour of putting it in this Bill.

First of all, I think it is desirable to point out that, on practical grounds, this amendment will achieve nothing. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce makes an Order extending the Bill to areas in West Cavan or North Longford or some other part of the country, it is exceedingly unlikely that any proposals for the annulment of that Order will be forthcoming at any time. Even if such a proposal for the annulment was made, it would not prejudice anything previously done under the Order. If, therefore, there was in the mind of the Minister for Industry and Commerce at any time a desire to give help under this Bill to an industrial project in some area outside the congested areas, he could easily have that done and completed before the Oireachtas would even have an opportunity of considering the desirability of annulling the Order made by him. Any help so given could not be recalled nor would it be invalidated by the provisions of this amendment.

There are, however, substantial objections to putting this amendment in the Bill. We are dealing with the possibility of promoting industrial development, by private enterprise, in the congested areas — that is, industrial enterprise by people who are themselves taking a financial risk and who will, naturally, adopt every possible precaution to minimise that risk. If there is a possibility of the help offered by Foras Tionscal to an industrial concern in an area to which the Bill [563] was extended by ministerial Order being withdrawn again, in consequence of a resolution by either House of the Oireachtas annulling the ministerial Order, then no private concern would, in fact, do anything — spend a penny — until that risk had been completely eliminated by the lapse of time.

The effect, therefore, of any such provision in the Bill would be precisely the same as if the amendment required the prior consent of the Oireachtas before a ministerial Order became effective. I have said that the making of a ministerial Order extending the Bill to areas contiguous to the congested areas does not in itself mean that anything will happen. I think that fact should be kept well in mind. The mere effect of a ministerial Order under Section 3 is to permit Foras Tionscal to consider proposals for industries in the areas to which the ministerial Order related. The decision of Foras Tionscal is its decision alone. The Minister has no responsibility for its decision. He does not have to approve of it. He cannot amend it.

This board is being set up as an authority independent of the Government to administer funds provided for it in the form of Grants-in-Aid. The Minister may, by Order, permit it to consider a proposal from an area other than the congested areas as defined, but he cannot, by any action of his, ensure that a proposal from any such area will be, in fact, assisted. It is, I think, likely — and I have already said this — that the question of making an Order by the Minister extending the Bill to some contiguous area will arise only when some proposal for industrial development in such an area has been received — a proposal which, on the face of it, appears to be desirable and practicable and which the Minister would like to have submitted to Foras Tionscal.

I now want to ask the House to consider the position of any Minister coming to the Dáil to debate a motion for the amendment of an Order made by him in connection with a proposal to be considered by Foras Tionscal. He would either have to reveal there was a proposal under examination on [564] which Foras Tionscal had not yet decided or conceal it. If he makes no reference to it, then there would be no obvious reason why he should make an Order extending the Bill to a dispensary district in West Cavan, for instance, and not to some other area such as North Longford or West Limerick, and he could give no logical reason for an Order extending the Bill to one district and not to others. In practice, therefore, he would have to reveal that there was an industrial proposition under examination in relation to the particular area to which the Minister's Order related, and he would have to do so in circumstances which would be undesirable. He would be rousing hopes of industrial development that might not take place because when the proposition was considered in detail by An Foras Tionscal it might be rejected or help refused. Alternatively, he would appear to be entering into some moral commitment with the people making the proposition, which would make it more difficult for An Foras Tionscal to adopt a critical attitude towards it or to refuse help for it. Ordinarily, it is undesirable that a member of the Government, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, should be put in the position of taking responsibility for the bona fides of private persons or for the soundness of industrial propositions put forward by private enterprise. Yet it would be impossible for him to escape that responsibility if he had to defend in the Dáil an Order made by him on the ground that this privately sponsored proposition had been received and appeared to be worthy of examination.

Senator O'Higgins said the power to add new areas should rest with the Oireachtas. I do not think it should. I ask the House to remember again the explanation which I gave it of the considerations which led to the framing of Section 3 in its present form. It was desired to make it clear on the face of the Bill that its purpose was to induce development in the western parts of the country. We considered whether we should define the congested areas in the Bill. In fact, at one stage of its drafting, Section 3 was so framed as merely to give the Minister for Industry and [565] Commerce power to declare any area to be an under-developed area for the purposes of the Bill. That was changed because it was considered to be desirable that the main purpose of the Bill should be clearly stated. We then encountered the difficulty of defining the western area. We had the advantage of a definition of the congested areas in existing legislation — a definition which was well known and which, over a long number of years, had been applied under various Acts, Acts which had somewhat analogous purposes. We felt that we could not be subjected to the charge of handpicking the areas to benefit under the Bill if we took that definition under the 1909 Land Act and embodied it here. That is what we did. However, we felt, as I explained already to-day, that the definition of the congested areas in the 1909 Land Act was itself defective in some respects and that it would be unfair to contiguous areas with the same economic conditions if they were permanently excluded from the Bill. We felt it would be difficult to justify that to the Oireachtas. That is why the section takes its present form.

The Bill applies, and must apply, to the congested areas as defined in the 1909 Land Act, and may be applied to other areas of a similar character by ministerial Order. I think it is better to leave it in that form. I ask the House to accept without reservation that the purpose of this Bill is to give assistance to the industrial development of the congested areas and that the power proposed to be conferred on the Minister to extend the Bill to other areas is merely intended to avoid the rigidity of that definition and to prevent the Government and An Foras Tionscal from being put in the position that a proposition which appeared to be desirable and which related to areas where the economic conditions were similar to those in congested counties would nevertheless have to be turned down because the area concerned was a mile or half a mile away from the border of a congested county. If the House is prepared to accept that position without reservation then I think they should reject this amendment, because this amendment implies [566] doubts as to the manner in which the Bill is going to be used and a desire to take power to keep a continued check over it.

Briefly, the arguments against the amendment are, firstly, that this is not the type of Bill, and the powers proposed to be conferred on the Minister are not the type of powers, to which a section of this type should apply. Secondly, it is ineffective in any event. Thirdly, it is likely to be detrimental to the efficient working of the Bill and to cause delay and uncertainty in the consideration of proposals from areas to which the Bill might be extended by ministerial Order, and, fourthly, because Section 3 is the kernel of the Bill.

We are asking the Oireachtas to accept this Bill in its present form. We are asking both Houses to accept that the primary purpose of the Bill is expressed by the requirement that it shall apply to the congested areas and that the power to be given to the Minister to extend it to other areas is merely for the purpose of introducing an element of flexibility and thereby meet the obvious objection to that definition which can be offered by residents in certain contiguous areas such as West Cavan, North Longford or West Limerick.

Mr. McGuire:  I feel that Senator O'Higgins has done a good thing in bringing forward this amendment because it expresses the considerable public uneasiness at the growth of Government by ministerial Order. That applies not only in this particular case and to this particular Government but it has been noticeable over a period of years. As a businessman who likes a good deal of freedom and flexibility and the ability to act with speed, I quite accept the points the Minister has made. At the same time, the trouble in this case is that the Minister's Order sets in motion a machinery which involves a lot of interference with private individuals. For example, it will immediately set in motion machinery which will involve the taking over of private property either on a voluntary or on a compulsory basis.

That leads to a lot of other things. [567] People may feel that they are not getting enough money for their property or that they are being taken out of a place which is all-important to their livelihood, and so forth. Therefore, the Order may have far-reaching consequences. I feel it is most important that every time a Bill comes before this House which confers powers of governing by Order on a Minister, it should be challenged with a view to inquiring into the necessity for these powers and how far-reaching they are. I feel that that has not been sufficiently done in the past or even when the last Government, which I supported, was in office. I feel that the Fianna Fáil Party, who were then in Opposition, did not challenge the last Government sufficiently in regard to this particular question. I notice that it is one of the points most frequently mentioned to anybody who happens to be a member of the Dáil or the Seanad when he is talking to thinking people outside. I am constantly being asked why the system of governing by Order is not challenged to a greater extent. For that reason, I feel that Senator O'Higgins has done a very good thing in bringing forward the amendment.

Professor O'Brien:  I want to support the amendment. The Minister must understand that, in supporting the amendment, I and my friends are not making any suggestion at all as to his bona fides in the administration of this Bill. I am proceeding entirely on the same grounds as those on which it has been proposed and as those put forward by Senator McGuire. The Minister answered the points in the amendment as ably as he could. I think that he made the correct answer and possibly his argument may really be analysed that the amendment did not go far enough, that it is really a case of locking the stable after the horse has got out. There is a certain amount of truth in that and I would have preferred the earlier amendment, that this decision should be taken by the Dáil and Seanad before the extension of the area was made. I quite see the force of what the Minister said — I think there is a great deal in it —[568] but, at the same time, I think the Seanad is entitled to press this amendment because it does raise a very important constitutional point.

The Minister, to some extent, really gave the case away by saying that, once a decision of this kind was taken by him, the favours conferred on individuals and places were of a kind that they could not be taken away, that he would be giving certain rights to certain localities and certain expectations to certain people and that it would be unfair for the Dáil or Seanad to intervene then. I rather agree, and I think that simply strengthens the case for the earlier amendment which we did not press. At the same time, it does not take away from the case for a parliamentary review of this exceedingly strong power which the Bill contains and an ex post facto review of the kind suggested in the amendment is at least better than nothing. It is not as good as the proposal in the earlier amendment, but it is better than nothing. The very difficulties the Minister himself raises indicate in themselves the magnitude of the problem involved, that this Bill gives the Minister powers to do certain things of a kind and quality that cannot be very conveniently undone. Nevertheless, the very fact that these decisions may be subjected to parliamentary discussion in either House will at least put a certain curb on hasty and unwise decisions.

A very important constitutional point is involved in this amendment and I quite agree with Senator McGuire that it is the duty of the Seanad in particular to protect the rights of the individual citizens of the country against delegated legislation by Ministers and civil servants. The Bill in its present form does give to the Minister a very great power which does not seem to me to be strictly necessary.

What this Bill proposes to do is to divide the country into two areas. One area will enjoy certain special privileges, in the sense that people setting up industries there will get large grants out of public money, while the other area will not enjoy these privileges. It proposes to give the Minister the power to draw the dividing line between the [569] privileged and underprivileged areas of the country. That, to my mind, is something more than the ordinary type of decision to be taken at ministerial discretion. It is a major decision and decisions of that kind, as the Minister said in his very able speech, will be so important and so far-reaching that, once they are taken, they cannot be undone without injustice and defeat of expectations.

When I think back to the great care taken with the definition of “congested districts” when the original Act was framed in 1891, and, when it turned out, in the course of 20 years, that the original congested districts definition was not suitable, to the extraordinary degree of inquiry that took place — the Royal Commission on Congestion, one of the biggest commissions in Irish economic history discussed the question for years where the line ought to be drawn between the congested and the uncongested parts of Ireland and the decision was finally incorporated in the Land Act of 1909 — I am tempted to ask the Seanad to think, if at that time it had been suggested that the then Chief Secretary or the executive in this country had the power to redraw the line between the congested and the uncongested counties, of all the indignation of the members of the Irish Party in Westminster and of the outcry there would have been about the tyrannical dictatorial powers given to the Government by that Act. Yet that is precisely what this Bill proposes to do and it simply shows how far we have moved away from the assertion of the rights of Parliament to bureaucracy in our time.

I do not think that powers of this kind should be contained in the Bill, unless they are absolutely necessary, and I do not think they are absolutely necessary for this reason, that there are existing organisations — the Industrial Credit Company, the Industrial Development Authority and the Department of Industry and Commerce — with powers to inquire into industrial propositions in the country generally.

What the Bill proposes is the setting up of a new authority to deal with the same problem in the special areas of [570] the country and it seems to me that if an industrial proposition is put up for an area outside the areas defined in the Bill, that proposition ought to go before the authorities which are appropriate for considering propositions outside these special areas. If it is a proposition in respect of places within the special areas, it ought to go to this new authority; but to give to any Minister or Government the right to redraw the line between the different areas is giving them a power which I, for one, do not think they should have.

It is a power to confer favours on certain areas and that is the sort of power that can be subject at times of political excitement, approaching election times — I do not suggest for one moment that it would be so used by the present Minister — to abuse. It is the sort of power that ought to be above the very suspicion that it could be abused and the sort of power that Ministers should not have, unless it is imperatively necessary. There is nothing so urgent in this that it could not be done by an amendment of the Act. There is nothing in this case so compelling or so urging that the Minister should have power to rush it through without consulting the Dáil or Seanad. It is a major power, this redrawing of the line between the overprivileged and under-privileged areas of the country and, in my opinion, it is not a power that ought to be given to the Minister, unless he can show that there is a compelling reason for having it. I do not think that case has been made.

The Minister has made a very able case against this amendment. He has made the case very ably that the amendment does not go far enough and has made a very strong case in favour of strengthening the amendment up. I think, however, that the amendment is better than nothing and the very fact that these decisions will be subject even to parliamentary debate will at least make Ministers slow up before taking this decision and will impose the obligation of explaining the reason for the decision, if the decision is made and challenged by either House. Therefore, it seems to me, on general constitutional [571] grounds, that this is an amendment the Seanad should pass.

Professor Hayes:  I agree with a great deal of what Senator O'Brien has said. The last thing the Minister said was that this amendment cast doubts upon the Minister himself and upon the general administration of the Bill. It does no such thing. The amendment does not in any way reflect upon the Minister, the Department or any of the Minister's successors. It does not express any doubt at all and does not challenge the bona fides of the Minister. Neither does it provide that there must be a parliamentary debate when a particular new area is brought within the purview of the Act. It simply provides that there may be a debate. It will have to be a matter open to discussion. Leaving aside the principles concerned in the matter, which have been dealt with by Senator O'Brien, we could consider the practice in this question, how it has worked out and whether the Dáil and Seanad have come in for a certain amount of abuse. This kind of section is in a great many Acts of Parliament. I do not think it has ever been abused by anyone in opposition.

I do not think it is at all likely that if a Minister makes an Order bringing in a particular area, there will be any debate lightly or irresponsibly undertaken. I would like the Minister to agree with me that he has power under this Bill to bring in any area he pleases, not only an area adjacent to a congested area but any area at all. He could bring in a seaport town on the East coast — he mentioned to-day that he had been asked to do that — and under this particular Act he could do that, or his successor could do it. That is another point — there is nothing personal to the Minister in this. The present Minister will not last for ever and, with the help of God, he may not last long at all — in his ministerial capacity, of course; I wish him well in every other respect — and for that reason this has to be considered on its merits, apart from the personalities concerned. Under the Bill, the Minister gets power to bring in the City [572] of Dublin if he likes, or to bring in any place in the State if he so chooses.

The Minister is extremely skilful. He has a great deal more skill than he has scruples, as a matter of fact — I have always noticed that about him. To-day, when arguing in connection with a previous amendment, his line was that an Order by the Minister made no difference at all. He tried to persuade Senator O'Higgins that he was mistaken, that under a ministerial Order nothing could be done, you had to go to An Foras Tionscal to get further and that then everything started. He takes a different view now, that a Minister's Order created hopes, created expectations, and got something done or got a factory erected, and then some wicked Senators or Deputies came along and had a debate and made the Minister reveal the details of an industrial project. That is not so at all and, of course, the Minister knows it as well as I do. The provision in the amendment is that if, within 21 sitting days of the Dáil or Seanad, a motion is passed annulling the Order, the Order is annulled without prejudice to anything done under it. An Order does not create any factory. It simply says that this is an area which may benefit under the provisions of this Undeveloped Areas Act. Then An Foras Tionscal, the board under the provisions of this Act, can consider it. Anyone who contemplates starting any industry, under the Order made by the Minister including the particular area, could easily discover whether there is or is not going to be a stop put to it.

Nobody has any hope of annulling any Order, except the main Opposition Party, and if they do not put down a motion to annul the Order, the Order is quite safe. As a general rule — I think as a universal rule — a motion of that kind has never been put down lightly or irresponsibly. I do not think the Minister would be pressed in either House — either this or any other Minister — to give any details about industrial projects which might be prejudicial to a particular area. The very fact that the new section proposed is not likely to be used is an argument in its favour, not an argument against it.

[573] May I put one other point to the Minister, that even if this section is not inserted it will still be open to the members of the Dáil or Seanad to put down a motion of censure about the Minister's administrative action under this Act in putting down for inclusion in the provisions of the Act a particular area. It would still be open to them to do that, so that if no real objection were taken to a particular area being included, it still could be talked about and discussed here and it could be talked about outside.

I think the Minister should accept the amendment and I think he is in favour of it. Senator O'Brien thinks there should not be any such power at all to put in further areas. Perhaps he is right, but that is a council of perfection. This kind of thing is the fashion: it has been going on for a number of years; and all you can do is provide certain safeguards. The real reason the Minister has, I am afraid, is that he is not prepared to accept any kind of amendment, because he is in a hurry and does not want any amendment put in, no matter how reasonable it is. This is a reasonable amendment and most certainly should be accepted and most certainly it does not mean what the Minister says it means.

It is not intended, nor indeed is it ever likely, to be used as a brake on development under this particular Bill. The very contrary is the case. Certainly, when the Minister gets the enormous powers conferred on him under Section 3 the very least that ought to be provided is that the Order made by the Minister should be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas and that each House should have an opportunity if it so desired to discuss and decide upon that matter. I think this is quite a reasonable proposal and that the Minister should accept it.

Mr. Baxter:  May I say a word or two, as I think the principles involved in this amendment are of such vital importance to all of us, including the Minister himself, that none of us can afford to sidestep the issue? Frankly, I do not understand why the Minister is not prepared to accept the amendment — unless it be for the reason given by Senator Hayes, who may have put [574] his finger on the spot when he said that the Minister is in a hurry. Perhaps he is in too great a hurry and may actually be slowing up his own progress by this method. He is afraid of the confusion which may result if this change be made in this particular section. We had a certain amount of discussion earlier to-day about the inclusion of certain areas in my county. Let us try to visualise how these powers would be used if the Minister in his present position decided to bring in one of these areas within the scope of the Bill. Can he see either of the Deputies — his colleague the Minister for Local Government or his other colleague — in his own Party putting down a motion in the Dáil to annul that Order? What sort of trouble would there be then in the camp? Can he imagine on the other hand, a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party putting down such a motion?

Mr. Lemass:  That is what I said.

Mr. Baxter:  Suppose a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party, other than the Deputy for Cavan, put down a motion to annul an Order applying the Act to a particular area in Cavan, what would be the reaction of the Cavan Deputy to that, or what would be the reaction of the Clann na Poblachta Deputy for Cavan, and what would happen in that Party? On the other hand, supposing the Minister were in opposition, let us imagine an effort having been made to bring in a particular area in my county within the scope of the Bill during his term of office, an effort which did not succeed, and let us imagine that, following the change of Government, an Order is made bringing that area under this Bill, can the Minister see himself in the position that he has tied his own hands by his action here in such a way that he cannot put down a motion in the House to annul that particular Order — with all the information which he had at his disposal, when he was in office, and the reasons which were available to him why that Order should not be made during his term of office, when he sees his successor doing it?

I think the Minister should consider carefully the implications of his own decision, since unquestionally he is [575] tying himself, restricting his freedom of action. We have seen him in action and we know that he likes freedom when he gets into action. He is not always going to be Minister for Industry and Commerce. He has seen changes — changes which have astonished him, presumably — and he will live to see them again. I feel that we are only arguing to-day what he would argue if he were here and he would argue it with all the vigour and conviction of which we know he is capable and he would be on perfectly sound ground in arguing that, much sounder ground than he finds himself on frequently when he is defending his position as Minister. I feel that the issue is of paramount importance, and I support the amendment.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  There were a few amendments on the Order Paper to-day which I thought the Minister would accept without any hesitation and this was one of them. It would appear that the Minister will not yield to us, but I ask Senators to consider this matter of legislating by delegation very carefully. It is frequently asked, what does the Seanad do? It might appear that a lot of Senators would seek to do nothing except pass a section of a Bill which would enable a Minister to do practically anything he likes. I want Senators to consider carefully whether they should not allow the Minister, by supporting this amendment, to declare as an undeveloped area any area that he would like so to declare. During the discussion on this Bill we have heard a great deal about west of the Shannon. The Minister has not said that he would keep west of the Shannon if he had to make an Order declaring an area an undeveloped area. If this power is given to him, he can go anywhere he wishes. As has been pointed out, he may go to the farthest point west or the nearest point east. He can even declare the city of Dublin as being an undeveloped area.

The Minister should not be given this power by the Seanad. Senators should insist on their right to deal with any Order that he might make. They should not give him the freedom [576] that he seeks. If they do, they will be giving away a valuable right. They will be only wasting their time if they do not give support to this amendment. The Minister might as easily have got this power by bringing in a Bill of one section declaring that he could do everything set out in the Schedule and no appeal would lie either to the Dáil or the Seanad. Senator Hayes stated that this legislation by delegation may be regarded as a fashion to-day. If it is a fashion, the sooner we have a “new look” the better; the sooner the fashion ends the better. The sooner Ministers are given considerably fewer powers except by Acts in which full details are given, the better for the Seanad and the Dáil.

The Minister has failed to give any satisfactory reason why he should not accept the amendment. He said that if these Orders had to be brought before either House there would be difficulty in getting people to take any interest in an area which might become an undeveloped area. They will take an interest in any place which they seek to have made an undeveloped area if they think there is good reason for being interested in it. I imagine that what would happen is that a person interested would go to the board or to the Department of Industry and Commerce and inquire whether an industry could be established in a certain place so that the promoters might get the benefit of the Act. It would be pointed out to him that the place did not come within the Act because it was an undeveloped area.

The Minister or the Department might be impressed by the proposition and might be disposed to say, “Yes, the Minister may make an Order declaring a particular place an undeveloped area and you may then get the benefit of the Act.” At the same time, there would be no difficulty in the Minister or the board saying, “The Minister may make this an undeveloped area, but such an Order might be annulled within the prescribed time.” There will be no responsibility taken by the promoters with that possibility there. They will be alive to the fact that that risk has to be considered. They will probably not proceed with [577] their plans until the prescribed time has expired. The amendment might perhaps be altered somewhat to enable the resolution to be put down within a shorter or a longer period, but the Minister cannot give that as a reason why people would be prejudiced because there would be the difficulty that the Order might be annulled. It could only be annulled within a prescribed time. It would appear that there is no point in pressing the Minister in the matter, but I ask Senators not to give way to the Minister. I appeal to Senators to vote for the amendment and to show that they are going to take some interest in the legislation of the State, that they will not give the Minister carte blanche to do exactly what he likes when he likes. They should face up to their responsibility and not have people saying that the Dáil and the Seanad apparently do very little except pass Bills giving Ministers power to do exactly what they like. Senators should consider the matter very carefully before they vote against the amendment.

Eamon Ó Ciosain:  I do not think the last Senator who spoke broke any new ground. I understood him, however, to make the point that no industrialist who intended establishing an industry in an area outside that defined in the Land Act, 1909, would do so until such time as he would find out whether a motion for annulment of the Order would be brought before both Houses of the Oireachtas. That would seem to me to be putting a very serious impediment in the way of any industrialist who intended to start an industry in an area, such as was described by Senator Baxter to-day, in West Cavan. I am very much surprised to find Senator Baxter supporting this amendment because, if this amendment were accepted by the Seanad, the result would be that West Cavan or any other place which might have a chance of being declared to be a congested area by the Minister would have no chance of being industrialised.

Mr. Baxter:  Who says that?

Eamon Ó Ciosáin:  Because no practical industrialist would go into an area like that where the concern he was [578] about to set up was to be the subject of discussion in both Houses of the Oireachtas afterwards. I know that, if it were my case and if I had a certain amount of money at my disposal for the establishment of an industry and I expected a certain amount of financial assistance from this board, I would make sure that I would start the industry within the area already defined. I would not leave myself open to the risk of having my enterprise being made the subject of an annulment Order later on.

I cannot see any justification for the fears which have been expressed here this evening by Senators — that the Minister for Industry and Commerce would take upon himself the power to declare any particular area a congested part of the country. We must remember that this is not an ordinary problem that we are tackling. We are tackling the problem of chronic under-development in this country and, because of that, the principles that would apply to ordinary legislation should not apply here. I say that because nothing should be done to tie the hands of the Minister and the board if it is their intention to do what we all desire them to do, namely, to start industries in those places where, as I have said, there has been over a number of years chronic under-development. I, for one, will oppose the amendment.

Mr. Commons:  As far as I could gather, the Minister's reason for opposing the amendment was that it would have a sort of delaying effect on decisions which he may take to legislate by Order in defining certain areas which he may feel should be entitled to benefit.

If what the Minister feels would help in any way to speed up an improvement of such areas, there may be some reason in the attitude which he has taken up. I know that I would not be inclined to blame him for taking power to himself to speed up help being given to a congested area or, indeed, to any area which, in his opinion, should be entitled to benefit. The main point against that — I intend to support the amendment — is that the congested areas have been defined. It took a long time, and a good deal of money, [579] to do that. In view of that, I think it would be wrong to allow this or any Minister to have the power to define any part of Ireland that he thought should be entitled to benefit to be scheduled as a congested area. I think if that power were given to a Minister it would give rise to a lot of trouble.

The first thing that occurs to one is, where would the line be drawn, or where would it end? If we are to have democratic legislation, then I suggest we should have it straightforward and all out. If a member of either House of the Oireachtas moved an amendment that such and such a county, dispensary district or electoral division should be added to the already defined congested areas, I think it would be very foolish of either the Dáil or Seanad to delay something which would be of benefit to any of these areas. The Minister would then have his hands clean and his job made easy because nobody could accuse him of using any political influence or favour. He would have had thrashed out openly before him the main reasons why such and such an area should be added.

I may say that I have had, in many cases, a great deal of respect for ministerial Orders, mainly because of the fact that you can get things done in a hurry which otherwise would be delayed. But, on an important issue like this, I think the Minister would be wise if he did allow others the chance of deciding what should or should not be added, because as some Senators have pointed out it would be quite easy for some Deputies in the Dáil to torpedo the whole Bill and cause endless delays by moving amendments and holding up legislation. That would cause much more delay than having the matter discussed in the ordinary way in both Houses.

I cannot understand why the Minister should be so stubborn in insisting that he will not ask the Seanad to accept the amendment, because in reality what is proposed would take a load off his hands and would not involve delay. I think that the Minister would be wise to take the broad view on this question. He has the goodwill and the sympathy of the Seanad in [580] regard to what he proposes to do for the congested areas. No matter what decision the Minister implements by Order, he can be sure of this, that at some later date his decision will offend someone in the Dáil and in turn that will cause trouble. While the Minister may be sincere now in trying to speed up things, I am of opinion that eventually his attitude will cause delay.

Mr. Yeats:  Most Senators will agree, I think, that as a general principle, it is clearly desirable that Orders made by Ministers should be laid on the Table of the Dáil and Seanad with a view to their being discussed, if necessary, by either House. But, I think, it is a mistake to argue that because that as a general principle is desirable, or because it is a principle which has been enshrined in numerous other Bills, that it necessarily should be put into this Bill. The Minister advanced arguments as to why it should not be put into this Bill, and stressed the effect that it might have on a prospective private industrialist who was proposing to set up an industry in one of these undeveloped areas. While we may know that it is exceedingly unlikely that a resolution to annul any such Order would be moved in either House, the ordinary private citizen, who may be thinking of sinking a certain amount of money in some industrial enterprise, could not be expected to take the risk that a motion could be moved in either House within 21 sitting days of the Seanad. In most cases, that could run to a period of about six months. A delay of that length could have a serious effect on the activities of private industrialists. That is the argument which was put up by the Minister and no one has really attempted to answer it.

Senator Hayes made, perhaps, the strongest argument against the amendment when he said that the amendment, if passed, would, in fact, make no difference whatever. I think it was Senator Hayes who also said that it would only be in the most exceptional circumstances than any resolution to annul an order made by the Minister would be moved. I think he gave as an example of such exceptional circumstances an Order by the Minister declaring, say, one of our eastern seaport [581] towns to be an undeveloped area. The Senator also pointed out that if this amendment was not passed it is still open to any member of the Dáil or Seanad to move a motion of censure on the Minister. Then it will have the same effect.

Professor Hayes:  No. It will not have the same effect.

Mr. Yeats:  You would get a more satisfactory effect. Senator Hayes stated quite clearly that there would be no difference between the position then and the position if this amendment were passed. From the point of view of the industrialist, it is quite clear the position would be more satisfactory.

Mr. Baxter:  It would not.

Mr. Yeats:  The industrialist does not care two hoots if a motion of censure is passed on the Government or on the Minister. Such a motion of censure may have serious effects on a Minister, but the industrialist who has been led to believe that he will get assistance will not lose that assistance if such a motion is passed. In such a very exceptional situation, this learned Seanad would still be in a position to control the Minister and the ordinary private industrialist would be free from worry in relation to the position of any industry he desired to establish. Because of the arguments put forward by the Minister and by Senator Professor Hayes, I think it is quite clear this amendment is both undesirable and unnecessary.

Mr. O'Donnell:  This amendment provides us with an opportunity of discussing the very vital question of government by Order. Several industrial organisations have in years past expressed their abhorrence of the continuance of legislation by Order. In so far as this amendment relates to a particular Bill, I do not think it is of any great importance.

I think it is a pity that certain people when they were in power did not move for the entire abolition of government by Order. I am more or less sitting on the fence now but it does seem to me somewhat peculiar that the proposer [582] of this amendment when he was a member of the Dáil did not table a motion for the abolition of government by Order in toto. I think such legislation is fundamentally wrong. It is undemocratic. I am entirely opposed to legislation by Order. This is not a mere Party matter because it affects our whole democratic outlook.

Legislation by Order came into being in time of emergency when it was desirable that Ministers should do things quickly. I think the Minister was himself the first to implement it. I think the continuance of it is a danger. As one who is to some extent interested in industry I hope that it will be removed very quickly and I hope this expression of our opinion in regard to it will be the first step towards the abolition of government by Order here. For that reason, though I do not favour the amendment, I am grateful because it has provided me with an opportunity of stating my opinion in the matter.

On the point of industrialists being afraid to go into undeveloped areas, the position is that the industrialist will be afraid anyhow because he can never tell when the Minister might make such an Order. Surely one of the greatest deterrents to any industrialist going into an area not defined as undeveloped under this Act will be the mere fact that the Minister has the power at any time to declare such an area undeveloped. I hope industrialists will go into the areas defined in the Bill because it is only by doing that they will be safe in carrying out the provisions of this measure. What does matter is the giving of power to the Minister to legislate or administer by Order. That is fundamentally wrong and in so far as opposition is expressed to that power in this amendment I am supporting it for that reason.

Mr. P. O'Reilly:  One would think that the Minister could do quite a lot of things by Order. I cannot see anything that the Minister can do under the Bill other than extend the scope of the Bill to areas that are not defined as congested districts and make an Order under Section 10 stipulating what the Electricity Supply Board must do in extending power under certain conditions. Senator Professor Hayes [583] stated that he hoped to make the Bill a better Bill for the benefit of future generations and future Ministers. He appears to forget that the Bill will exist for seven years at the most. He doubted whether the present Minister would be the Minister during that period. I do not know whether he referred to the Minister's physical life or his ministerial life; I take it it was his ministerial life.

I think there is a complete misunderstanding as to what is intended. It appears to be the general feeling that the Minister will make Orders extending the congested districts and that the areas will be defined in a general sort of way. Senator Baxter referred to the dispensary districts. If a group of manufacturers decided to manufacture safety pins in Killeshandra and the Minister considered it desirable to extend the area I do not think he would take the dispensary district as the unit of measurement. I suggest he would take either the townland or the electoral division. From that point of view I can visualise many Orders in regard to the different areas that have been suggested to which the Bill could apply. It would then be open to us to put down a motion asking the Minister why such Orders had been made and the Minister would have to come in here and tell us why in his opinion such a step was desirable. If that practice were to be established it might do quite a lot of damage because of public representatives both in the congested districts and adjacent areas seeking certain information.

In my opinion that would have the effect of retarding development under the Bill. I think the Minister has advanced good reasons why the amendment should not be accepted. It may be argued that in many cases it might be desirable to have an amendment like this inserted but I suggest that this is not one of them.

Mr. Burke:  I will be very brief but I want to say I think this is a matter of fundamental importance. The Minister has not wide powers in this amendment but still it is a small attack on freedom. Freedom is lost often in small things. It wears away often rather [584] than be taken away in large measure. If we allow Ministers of State and our civil servants to legislate by Order we will find that this practice will grow. We must be ever vigilant in according these democratic rights and that is the reason I am against the amendment. I am surprised at Senator O'Reilly saying the Minister is only able to do it in small measure. Freedom is generally lost in small beginnings and for that reason I intend to vote against this amendment.

Mr. S. Ó Donnabháin:  I must say that when I saw this amendment on the Order Paper I felt it was right to have it inserted in the Bill. I have discussed it with other members of the Seanad. I appreciate fully the arguments that the Minister has put forward against the amendment to-day but would like to say this. If nothing else would make me favour the Bill as it stands it would be the air of unreality that has been introduced in the speeches for this amendment by the members on the other side of the House. They treated the Minister as though he were a nincompoop. Even Senator Hayes and Senator O'Reilly suggested that he could include part of the east coast or make the City of Dublin an undeveloped area.

Mr. O'Higgins:  He said if he was asked to do it.

Mr. S. Ó Donnabháin:  He could do it if he were a fool. The Minister would be a simpleton if he were to suggest such a thing or to meditate doing such a thing. The only thing comparable to that that comes to my mind would be if we had a Minister who would say that Connemara would become so developed that it would drown Dublin in butter, or that Kerry would become so developed that it would choke Dublin with eggs. The Minister who would contemplate that is the only type of Minister who would think of doing the things that are suggested in the speeches from the other side of the House.

The main point I want to make here is that the period of this temporary legislation lapses in seven years and it covers only £2,000,000. If I thought that it would continue so that there [585] would be a clause in this Bill — which there is not — that a further £2,000,000 would be voted or that this Act could automatically be extended by Order, I would be very much in favour of its insertion. But the jurisdiction of the Act expires in seven years and £2,000,000 is the maximum amount that can be spent. Nobody has referred to that fact. The Minister is being asked to have other areas added when, certainly, he has enough areas to work on, there being only £2,000,000 to be expended. These are the points I wish to make in connection with the amendment. Normally, I would be in favour of it but the Minister's speech certainly impressed me and the speeches from the other side of the House have impressed me more so, actually, than the Minister's own arguments that this amendment should not be accepted.

Mr. S.T. Ruane:  I should like to add a few points in support of Senator O'Higgins's amendment. There are occasions when legislation by Order is desirable and, of course, necessary, but this certainly is not one of those occasions. I do not see how the acceptance of this amendment would in any way cut across the Minister's authority. Speaking as a representative coming from one of the areas for which this Bill has been designed, I believe it is a case where the Minister should take the Oireachtas into his confidence by placing any such Order before both Houses before it would be enforced.

Mr. O'Higgins:  I would like to point out to the last speaker on the opposite side that this amendment was not put down as a political amendment at all. Nor is this amendment concerned as to whether the present Minister or future Ministers are nincompoops or not. That has nothing at all to do with the amendment nor was the amendment discussed in that spirit. I was impressed by the fact that the speaker to whom I referred said this was an amendment which, in the normal course of events, he would support and, he said, intended supporting it until the Minister had made his arguments. I think I am correct in saying that that was also the tenor of Senator Yeats's argument. Were it not for the case [586] put up by the Minister they would have supported this amendment as being a perfectly appropriate amendment and a perfectly proper safeguard of the rights of the Oireachtas.

Mr. S. Ó Donnabháin:  May I point out that that was not the whole story.

Mr. O'Higgins:  No. I am coming to the rest of it now. Let us examine the arguments that so impressed these members. The Minister's argument was, that if this power were given to each House of the Oireachtas to annul by resolution an Order made by him it would have these effects: first of all if a resolution were put down it would force the Minister to reveal the fact that there was a proposal under examination. That is one of the arguments which so impressed Senator Yeats and the other speakers, that if a resolution to annul an Order is put down it will force the Minister to reveal the fact that a proposal is under examination. I call that sheer nonsense. A resolution can only be put down if an Order is made and the very fact that the Order was made reveals the fact that a proposal is under consideration. Is not that quite clear? That is one of the arguments which impressed Senator Yeats.

The next argument was this. The fact that the Order has been made would arouse particular hopes and if a resolution is put down to annul the Order it would cause fears where hopes existed before. I think it was Senator P.F. O'Reilly who pointed out the answer to that. The power to put down a resolution exists only for a very limited period for either House of the Oireachtas and surely the members of this House should have sufficient regard for their own rights and for the rights which they should be protecting on behalf of the people they represent to say to anyone who is going to have conferred on them a privilege by a ministerial Order; “You will have to put up with your fears for a period of 21 days until we as Deputies and Senators have an opportunity of discussing this matter.

Mr. S. Ó Donnabháin:  21 days of meeting.

[587]Mr. O'Higgins:  Possibly, or it may be three weeks. Another of the arguments which so impressed these Senators was that this amendment, if it is put in, would not have any great effect. If that is so, if the Minister was serious in advancing that argument, I wonder why it is that the Minister, or Senator Yeats and other speakers are so vehemently opposed to the amendment.

I agree with the Minister to a certain extent when he makes that case, and I agree with what Senator Hayes said in relation to the actual machinery of this particular Bill. The amendment, if it is carried, might not have a very great effect but it would have an effect on the principle — that we are establishing our rights, as a House of the Oireachtas, to review Orders made by the Minister and that we are not going to give the Minister power to make whatever Order he chooses whether we like it or not. I do not think the Minister could have been serious when he spoke of Section 3 as being the kernel of the Bill and when he said that if the amendment were carried it was going to upset it. Either that is right or it is wrong. If it is right, then his previous argument that the amendment, even if inserted, would be totally ineffective is wrong. I do not know on which foot the Minister wants to stand, but it is quite clear, at any rate, that he has set his face against this amendment in any shape or form. He refused a similar amendment earlier. I want to impress on Senators, even the Senators who sit on the same side of the House as [588] the Minister, that this is a matter which cannot be taken lightly, and certainly not a matter which should be judged politically.

Senator O'Donnell made a pertinent remark when he asked why the member who had put down this amendment did not move similar amendments when he was a member of the other House. I want to tell him that the first or second speech I made in the other House was designed to support an amendment and to support it in practically identical terms to those I am using to support the present amendment. I acted thus, even against the wishes of the then Minister whom I supported, so as to secure that the amendment in question was incorporated in the particular Bill under discussion. I did so because I believed, as a matter of principle, that it would not be proper for the then Minister to have these powers. I appeal to Senators sitting opposite, no matter what their political affiliations or views may be, to give this matter serious consideration in a non-political way. It is not a political amendment and neither myself nor anybody else sitting on these benches will endeavour to make political capital out of it with a view to embarrassing the Minister or his Party. If the Senators across the floor decide, in the interests of this House or in the interests of the country, that this amendment, as a matter of principle, should be incorporated in the Bill, I feel that the amendment should be pressed.

Amendment put.

The Committee divided:— Tá: 18; Níl: 24.


Baxter, Patrick F.
Burke, Denis.
Butler, John.
Commons, Bernard.
Douglas, James G.
Hayes, Michael.
Johnston, Joseph.
McCrea, James J.
McFadden, Míchéal Óg.
McGuire, Edward A.
McHugh, Vincent.
Meighan, John J.
O'Brien, George.
O'Donnell, Frank H.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Reilly, Patrick F.
Ruane, Seán T.
Tunney, James.


Aghas, Pádraig.
Clarkin, Andrew S.
Colgan, Michael.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Hartney, Seán.
Hayes, Seán. [589]McMullen, William.
Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
Ó Ciosáin, Éamon.
Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
Ua Guilidhe, Seán.
O'Reilly, Patrick.
Hearne, Michael.
Honan, Thomas V.
Kilroy, James.
Loughman, Frank.
Lynch, James B.
Lynch, Peter T. [590]O'Rourke, Daniel.
O Siocfhradha, Pádraig.
Quirke, William.
Ruane, Thomas.
Teehan, Patrick J.
Yeats, Michael B.

Tellers:— Tá: Senators S.T. Ruane and O'Higgins; Níl: Senators Kissane and Loughman.

Amendment declared lost.

Section 14 and the First Schedule agreed to.


Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  I move amendment No. 10:—

In paragraph 1 (3) (a), page 7, line 47, to delete the word “one” and substitute therefor the word “three”

This paragraph provides that where the board enters on and takes possession of any land in connection with their duties under the Bill, they shall give at least one month's notice in the case of land and three months' notice in the case of a dwelling house. My amendment seeks to ensure that, in the case of land, the board shall give three months' notice and, in the case of a dwelling house, six months' notice. I am proposing the amendment because I want to provide against the creation of possible hardships. If the board serves notice on an owner of land, stating that they will take possession of the property after one month, very great hardship may be caused. The owner may have stock on the land which he cannot accommodate elsewhere or he may have crops growing on the land, so that very grave hardship might be caused if he were compelled to give up possession after only one month's notice. Possibly we shall be told by those opposing the amendment that the board will act reasonably. Again we have a duty in this matter and that duty is to see that the board will act in no way other than reasonably. I do not think any reasonable objection can be made to the amendment. The activities of the board cannot be seriously interfered with if the period of the notice is extended by two months in the case of land and five months in the case of a dwelling.

Mr. Lemass:  I want to say, in connection with this amendment and all other amendments to the Second Schedule, that the Second Schedule contains provisions which have appeared in a very large number of statutes and which must now be regarded as being in standard form. I would dislike having to amend these standard provisions because they have been developed as the result of experience over a long number of years and I would not feel personally competent to assess adequately the effect of any change that might be proposed. It might, perhaps be more convenient, for the purpose of framing future legislation, if these standard provisions were embodied in some general statute which could be applied in all future cases where powers of compulsory acquisition are being conferred on any public authority. If Senator O'Reilly would like to take a hand in preparing a statute containing these standard provisions and embodying any amendments which his judgment or experience suggest might be necessary, he would, I think, be doing something useful and something which would permit of these more or less legal questions being considered in a proper atmosphere.

Most of the provisions of this schedule have been debated on many occasions in the past and the arguments that could be advanced for and against their amendment have been frequently stated. I would urge that we should embody in this Bill provisions which are in standard form, provisions which have stood the test of experience, provisions the significance of which will be appreciated by those who have to administer the Bill and will not be subject to the hazards of possible legal interpretation, different from that applied [591] in the past. If there is a feeling in any circles that these standard provisions are defective in any respect, then I would urge that those who hold that view should take the course I am suggesting of producing a private Bill for the recasting of the whole provisions with a view to the passing of a general enactment which could be incorporated in all future Bills of this kind.

Mr. Baxter:  The Minister is difficult to understand at times. He is very subtle. At one time you just do not know how serious and grave he may be. He can assume an air of very great seriousness yet you feel that he is just pulling your leg and trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Mr. Hearne:  At the same time? It is an acrobatic feat beyond my imagination.

Mr. Baxter:  In making the case he has attempted to make, to submit to the House the argument that if the standard form is not satisfactory and does not do justice, the responsibility is on the Opposition——

Mr. Lemass:  I did not say that. I did not suggest that there is anything wrong with it——

Mr. Baxter:  We are trying to persuade the Minister that there is something wrong with it.

Mr. Lemass:  I do not think that there is anything wrong with it but if there are Senators who think that there is it is their obligation to submit their proposals to be debated by those who have what I have not — practical experience of their operation.

Mr. Baxter:  I have not the legal experience of Senator O'Reilly but take Senator Quirke who sits on the Front Bench opposite. He has wide experience of the sale of land. Would he not think it an extraordinary position if I had possession of my farm to-day — and he had sale of it — and within a month I had to be out of it? It would not matter whether or not the market were suitable for the disposal of stock. It would not matter if it were the 1st June and the hay would be ready on the 30th but I could not [592] have it ready at once. It would not matter if it were the middle of August and my crop of wheat, barley and oats would be ready in three weeks' time but would have to stand in the field until then.

In spite of all these things within a month I would have to be out of my place. Surely the Minister has some sense of proportion and justice in a matter like that. It does not matter if that is the standard form. What matters is: Is the standard form just? I must confess that I have no knowledge of a section like that in previous legislation. I would like to have from the Minister some evidence of where this has appeared in other legislation. Earlier to-day he quoted some powers which the Turf Board had but the Minister knows what it is to go into a bog which is an unexplored and undeveloped region about which nobody is very concerned.

Mr. Quirke:  Nobody very concerned about bogs? They were not long ago until Fianna Fáil turned the bogs into turf.

Mr. Baxter:  At this hour of the night I will not be turned aside by Senator Quirke. I suggest that when the Minister quotes those powers Bord Na Móna may have with regard to taking possession of bogs for a period and disposing of them, temporary occupation, he should realise that those bogs are not comparable with a good farm of land or portion of a good farm say near Ballina or Balla where there is rather good land, as probably some Senators on the far side of the House know quite well, although it is a congested area. They are not comparable at all. You have a situation where a man is in possession of portion of his farm to-day, has to be out within a month without any provision with regard to stock or crops. You can compulsorily acquire this portion and off he must go. It does not make sense to the countryman. It is not just. If it sounds just to the Minister I assure him that it does not seem that to me. If there have been faults in previous legislation or in the standard form which the Minister is introducing I submit that the Minister is not too old to reform. Not only can [593] he reform his own mind and approach but he should reform legislation which is definitely at fault.

Mr. Lemass:  I am too young to reform. Under the Electricity Supply Board legislation, aviation legislation, the turf board legislation, under all the Acts which are administered by the Department of Industry and Commerce, there are similar powers of acquisition in this form. From my experience, the process of compulsory acquisition is never completed in less than 12 months.

Mr. Douglas:  The House has just decided by a majority that the standard form should apply to this Bill. It has been the standard form that Orders made by the Minister should be laid on the Table of the House and there have been some differences as to that. It is absurd to suggest that because there have been Acts in the past, separate Acts with their own provisions, and this Bill follows that this is the standard form and should not be improved. I would not agree with the Minister that this is the standard form of Act. He mentioned Acts dealing with property to be acquired by State-controlled bodies——

Mr. Lemass:  There are other Acts where the same form is used.

Mr. Douglas:  ——but this is a Bill which proposes to give property to private individuals and yet it is to be tied by the standard form. I do not think that that is a good ground for objection to the amendment. The objection should be on the grounds that they are bad amendments. They should be considered on their merits, not on the question of the standard form. The Minister did say that he disagreed and that is perfectly reasonable. It would probably save time as the Minister has dealt with the three amendments concerned to take all three instead of taking them separately. The principle is the same.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Amendments Nos. 10, 11 and 12?

Mr. Douglas:  Senator O'Reilly has dealt with amendment No. 10 and his [594] remarks also apply to amendment No. 12 and the amendment in my name.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  There is no objection to taking the three amendments?

Mr. Douglas:  The vote would be separate if there is any. They could be put separately but debated together in order to save time. It seems to me, standard form or not, that we should not give the board power to acquire a dwellinghouse and put a person out within three months for the purpose of an industry and handing it over to private enterprise. Surely it is not necessary to provide for three months? I do not know what a Court would do with an Act of this kind before it, but if a private landlord went to Court to get an eviction within three months he would not get it. I do not know what he would get. There are lawyers in this House who could tell him but I know that he would certainly not get three months. If it is the standard form, that is no reason why we should not put it right. If three months' time is to be given in which to get a person out of a dwellinghouse, that is absurd; even six months would be little enough.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  Frankly I am amazed at the Minister's attitude. I thought that the amendments were quite reasonable. I could not care less about what is in previous Acts; I am not in the least interested. I think that we should consider Bills as they are in themselves and not with reference to what was in previous Acts passed three, five or 20 years ago. Is it the Department's idea that when a Bill is to be introduced the principal officers are told to go to pigeon-hole number two to find the set form taken from the last three or four Acts?

Mr. Lemass:  Yes.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  The sooner that is changed the better. I would imagine that the Minister would set about the business without using exactly what was done before as a precedent, but facing up to present-day difficulties. In some cases, in a case of urgency, a month might be sufficient or three [595] months might be long enough, but in the case of the amendments I think that one month, three months and six months are only reasonable. I would ask the Minister to discontinue his attitude to all these amendments and give us credit for acting with some reason. I am extremely obliged to the Minister for his suggestion that I should constitute myself a statute laws reform committee. I thank him for the compliment but I would respectfully decline the suggestion. I would suggest that the Minister should not go to pigeon holes, as he says he does, for his Acts of Parliament. He should look at things as cases which are intended for specific and not for general purposes. He should have his Acts prepared to meet reasonable cases and not rely always on precedent.

Mr. Lemass:  I disagree completely. I think we should have standard provisions governing matters of this kind — provisions which will be incorporated automatically in all enactments where they will be required, provisions which are built up out of experience and maintained unaltered until the need for alteration has been proved, and the legal interpretation of which is clearly understood by everybody.

Mr. P.F. O'Reilly:  I do not know of any case where a person must leave a piece of land within one month.

Mr. Lemass:  I can give you half a dozen such Acts.

Mr. Baxter:  Could the Minister give us one?

Mr. Lemass:  The Turf Development Act. If you are going to deal with probabilities in this matter, it is unlikely that this board will ever use the powers of compulsory acquisition. If it ever does, it will be after the failure of protracted negotiation to make a purchase by agreement. Even then, it is extremely likely that the notice given will be of many months' duration instead of one month. In my experience, the process of compulsory acquisition was never completed in a year and often took longer. Everybody realises, in dealing with these matters, that it is necessary to err in favour of [596] fairness and consideration of the person whose property is being acquired. There is also the risk that the process might be upset by a legal decision or that the judgment of the arbitrator as to the compensation payable might be affected.

Amendment No. 10 put and declared negatived.

Amendment No. 11 put and declared negatived.

Amendment No. 12 put and declared negatived.

Mr. O'Higgins:  I move amendment No. 13:—

In paragraph 3 (1), page 8, to add at the end of the sub-paragraph the following words: “provided however that in fixing such price or compensation, allowance may be made on account of the acquisition of such land being compulsory, and any provision to the contrary in the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, shall not apply.”

This amendment has relation to the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, in so far as it is related to the second schedule of this Bill. The purpose of putting down this amendment is quite a simple one. The Minister should not have any great difficulty in agreeing with it at all, despite the fact that so far he has proved himself singularly unco-operative with members of the Seanad in their desire to improve the provisions of this Bill. The Second Schedule of the Bill provides that where price or compensation is to be paid because of the compulsory provisions contained in the Bill, the price or compensation will be fixed under and in accordance with the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919. The first sub-section of this Act provides that “no allowance shall be made on account of the acquisition being compulsory.” I object to that as an unfair provision. This Act was passed in 1919. We are speaking now in the year 1952. Despite the fact that the Minister has indicated his preference for adhering as rigidly as possible to earlier Acts, whether they be British [597] or Irish, I do seriously suggest to the Seanad that 23 years after the passing of the 1919 Act we are entitled to look again at the provision which makes it obligatory on an arbitrator, functioning under the 1919 Act, to take no account of the fact that the acquisition in question is of a compulsory nature.

It is true that in the same section of the 1919 Act there would appear to be provision for compensation for disturbance. I admit quite frankly to the Minister that, having read section 2 of the 1919 Act from sub-section (1) down to the end of sub-section (6), I find it somewhat difficult to understand the provision contained in sub-section (6). This amendment is put down on the basis that sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the 1919 Act means what it says. I am suggesting to the Minister now that he should take his courage in his hands, depart from precedent and say that in relation to the compulsory powers of acquisition which will be exercised by the board under the Undeveloped Areas Act that he is not going to tie the arbitrator, if arbitration is necessary, to disregard the fact that the acquisition is compulsory. I am not asking that we should, by this amendment or by any other amendment, go too far on the reverse side and make it obligatory on the arbitrator to allow compensation because of the compulsory nature of the acquisition, but I am suggesting that we should leave it to the discretion of the arbitrator, in cases where he thinks it suitable and advisable, to have regard to the fact that the land is being compulsorily acquired and to assess compensation on that basis.

Various examples can be given. I can see immediately two cases which I will put very briefly before the House. There is the case of a person who purchases land as a speculation because the Minister has made an Order under Section 3. He purchases land in an undeveloped area in the hope that it is going to be acquired. I agree that that person should not be allowed compensation because his land is being compulsorily acquired.

On the other hand, you may have land which has been in the possession [598] of the same family for 100 or 150 years. An old couple may be living there who may want to finish out their days on that land, but by reason of the compulsory powers contained in this Bill are being put off their land. The land is going to be taken from them in a compulsory manner. I believe the arbitrator under the 1919 Act should have discretion to take that into consideration in assessing the compensation.

Mr. Lemass:  On this issue, I have no courage to take in my hands. For 30 years the legislation of this State has provided that where an arbitrator has to deal with compensation he should do so in accordance with the provisions of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919. I think that we would be very unwise to depart from that basis now. We would be entering upon an uncharted sea. Nobody can predict with any confidence the interpretation that might be put on any new terms of reference that might now be drafted for the arbitrator. The existing terms of reference have worked extraordinarily well, in my opinion, Having regard to all the land acquired for hydro-electric schemes, and other developments of that kind, there has been remarkably little complaint about the number of individual assessments of compensation that have been made.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Only because there is no appeal.

Mr. Lemass:  I am certain that we would have heard of them in the Dáil if there were a real and genuine basis for complaint about the measure of compensation assessed. In view of that, I think we would be unwise now to embark on something new — something which might have the effect of substantially stepping up the cost of property acquired in this way. There is not much point in arguing that this is a special type of Bill and that the land to be acquired will be acquired for a special purpose. Any change we make here now will become a precedent for future cases of this kind.

[599]Mr. O'Higgins:  I move to report progress.

Professor Hayes:  What is it proposed to take next Wednesday?

Mr. Quirke:  It is agreed that we will take all the stages of this Bill next Wednesday.

Professor Hayes:  What is to happen to the remaining amendments? The Minister's attitude is that he expects no amendments. Everything is common form or else there are other reasons. Is there any use in putting down amendments for next Wednesday?

Mr. Lemass:  If there is a desire to prepare further amendments for the Report Stage I suggest that the remaining amendments to the Second Schedule might be withdrawn now and reintroduced on the Report Stage. That would permit the Committee Stage to be completed now.

Mr. O'Higgins:  Will to-day's remaining amendments be taken as being down for the Report Stage?

[600]Mr. Lemass:  Yes.

Agreed to complete the Committee Stage now and to meet for the Report Stage next Wednesday.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Is it agreed that all the remaining amendments on the Paper be now withdrawn?

Mr. Lemass:  For reintroduction on the Report Stage.

Mr. O'Higgins:  I am prepared to withdraw my amendments now and to reintroduce them on the Report Stage. I take it that that will be agreed to, without having to write them out again.

Amendments Nos. 13 to 21, inclusive, by leave withdrawn.

Second Schedule and Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment.

The Seanad adjourned at 10.5 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 16th January, 1952.